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Raleigh plane crash pilot death ruled an accident

Charles Crooks, 23, was a co-pilot who jumped or fell from a charter plane during an emergency landing. No drugs or alcohol were in his system, the autopsy shows.
Credit: Simon Palmore

RALEIGH, N.C. — An autopsy report revealed the death of the pilot who either jumped or fell from an aircraft in July was ruled an accident Wednesday, according to CBS 17.

CBS 17 reported that 23-year-old Charles Crooks was a co-pilot who jumped or fell from a charter plane that made an emergency landing at RDU airport.  

Before Crooks departed the plane, there were two people on board. 

Later, Crooks' body was found in the backyard of a Fuquay-Varina home. 

The other pilot that landed at RDU was okay. 

An investigation showed Crooks had walked to the back of the plane to get some fresh air after feeling "sick." The autopsy report also said he “departed the airplane via the aft ramp door.”

CBS 17 also reported the other co-pilot was firm about not seeing Crooks grab the safety bar before he left the plane. 

When CBS 17 obtained Crooks’ autopsy report, it indicated multiple organs were injured including the heart, lungs, esophagus, liver, spleen, and left kidney. It also said Crooks had damage to his skeletal system, including extensive skull fractures to the ribs, pelvis, right humerus, radius and ulna, right femur, and left ankle. 

The autopsy said no drugs or alcohol were in his system when he died. 

The report also said multiple blunt force injuries were the cause of death, ruling the manner of his death an accident. 


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