In the first week of August, NBC news covered an incident involving an emergency landing in Fuquay-Varina, a small town in southern Wake County, North Carolina, that shocked the entire nation.
On Friday, 1st August 2022, two co-pilots, one 23-year-old Raleigh resident Charles Hew Crooks and another un-named co-pilot, decided to take a small twin-engine CASA plane for work-related purposes. However, due to landing gear issues mid-flight, the aircraft made an emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the hard landing caused the plane to skid off the Runway 5R-23L into the grass. FAA authorities at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport immediately went to rescue the two co-pilots but only saw one.
The local law enforcement authorities immediately sprung to action and started a missing search for a co-pilot, who presumably “exited” the plane before the crash.
The Wake County Emergency Management operations manager appeared on NBC to update the residents and the nation on the search. Soon, first responders received a call from a resident stating that there was someone in their backyard.
Emily Osborn, a resident of Fuquay-Varina in the Sonoma Springs neighborhood, heard a noise in her backyard but didn’t pay much heed to it, considering she lived in an area surrounded by dense woods.
After a couple of hours, Osborn went into her backyard and saw a dead body in the woods. Terrified, Osborn immediately reported the dead body to the local authorities.
The week at Sonoma Springs neighborhood in Fuquay Varina came to a sad and gruesome end. First responders received a phone call the search team was waiting for, and upon reaching the woods near the caller’s home, they saw the 23-year-old missing co-pilot Charles Hew Crooks lying dead under a tree. When Crooks exited, he was not carrying a parachute.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash as NBC news, other media houses, and the residents look for some closure.
The Wake County Emergency Management, National Transportation Safety Board, and the FAA started their investigations from the recordings available at air traffic control to find any answers about the incident.
Air traffic control records replayed the un-named co-pilot requesting an emergency landing at the Raleigh Durham international airport in North Carolina as the twin-engine CASA small plane was facing landing gear issues mid-flight with its right wheel.
The investigation agencies have not revealed the name of the surviving co-pilot, who was treated for his minor injuries and released at the hospital. However, they are still probing him to get any insights before the plane landed that would provide some answers to the bizarre incident.
It is not clear whether Crooks jumped out of the plane before the emergency landing or was exited due to a malfunction. It could be possible that a manufacturer’s defect or lack of maintenance caused the cabin door to open, resulting in Crooks exiting the airplane leading to his wrongful death.
Patrick Smith, an aviation blogger, mentioned past incidents where the cabin door in unpressurized planes (similar to the one Crooks was flying) would swing open on its own. In 1980, a pilot suddenly fell out of a plane after the cabin doors opened. Fortunately, he held onto the plane and survived, suffering minor injuries.
In 2009, a passenger on an airplane owned by Rampart Aviation, where Charles Hew Crooks worked, died after inadvertently opening the parachute on his flight instructor, causing him to exit the plane. It is necessary to investigate whether the company is negligent and not maintaining their planes properly, leading to accidents, or whether it is a product liability case.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, defective products cause 29.4 million injuries and 21,400 deaths in the United States. Fortunately, injured victims can recover compensation for their damages under negligence or product liability law.
If you are suffering from injuries from an accident due to another’s negligence, contact us at (833) LETS-SUE for a free consultation, as you may be eligible for compensation.