North Carolina pilot who died in the fall jumped out, air traffic controllers say

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The North Carolina pilot who died after falling from a plane actually jumped out of the plane, according to a recording of a 911 call his copilot made after the incident.

Charles Hew Crooks, 23, was flying a 10-seater plane with only one other copilot on board when he was killed on July 29. It was initially unclear whether he fell from the plane or jumped of his own accord. However, a recording of a 911 call from air traffic controllers indicates that the man jumped.

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Controllers called police shortly after speaking with the surviving copilot. They indicated that the copilot had told them that the Crooks had jumped out of the damaged aircraft, forcing the copilot to make an emergency landing.

“We have a pilot who came into the field,” a controller said during the call, according to WNCN. “His copilot jumped out of the plane. He made an impact on the ground and here are the coordinates.

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Authorities say the plane sustained damage to its fuselage and landing gear at some point prior to the emergency landing.

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Police are still investigating the incident and have not yet made a final decision on whether Crooks jumped.

Crooks did not have a parachute and his body was found after a family reported it landed moments from their home.

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The man’s father says Crooks had worked as a flight instructor for about a year, according to WRAL. He didn’t know how his son could have jumped.

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“He said a few weeks ago that he wouldn’t trade with anyone in the world. He loved where he was,” he told the station, adding: “I can’t imagine what happened.”

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