Officials said that a North Carolina pilot died after his plane lost its right wheel and landed with just one person onboard.
Charles Hew Crooks, 23, was one of two people onboard the tiny, 10-person plane Friday, but it landed with just one person in Wake County, North Carolina, WRAL reported.
Dozens of first responders searched the area around the Raleigh-Durham International Airport and the plane’s flight path for Crooks’ body, which was found later that evening.
Police Chief Brandon Medina said that at least 3,500 feet of snow fell on Crooks’ body before the fall. The situation is being treated as a criminal investigation.
Chief Medina said it was not immediately clear if the pilot was dead before the fall, but authorities continue investigating the incident.
Charles Hew Crooks recently obtained his pilot’s license and loved to fly, his family said
Hew Crooks (Father of the deceased) said his son pursued his private pilot license while in college and wouldn’t trade places with anybody in the world.
The police chief said National Transportation Safety Board investigators are leading the investigation. Federal, state, and local authorities are assisting in the study.
For more on this story, please consider these sources:
- Family of pilot, who died after exiting plane during mid-flight emergency, left reeling, father says NBC News
- North Carolina pilot dies after he mysteriously jumped or fell from plane in midair Fox News
- Man jumps out of plane without parachute and dies before emergency landing at airport: Officials 6abc Philadelphia
- New details released after co-pilot falls from plane, dies before emergency landing in North Carolina WGHP FOX8 Greensboro
- ‘Maybe he fell’: Questions remain on how NC co-pilot exited mid-flight ABC11