Autopsy Finds Fatal Fall From Plane Was Accidental

Rear ramp had been opened for ventilation
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 30, 2022 4:39 PM CST
Co-Pilot's Fall From Plane Was an Accident: Autopsy
Stock photo   (Getty/SkyF)

A co-pilot who fell from a private plane in North Carolina in July died in an accident, an autopsy has determined. The report from the state's chief medical examiner said Charles Hew Crooks sustained multiple blunt force injuries. The toxicology report said tests found no alcohol or "common drugs of abuse" in his system, per NBC News, and the autopsy found "no significant natural disease." After Crooks fell out of the back of the plane, the pilot, whose name has not been released, made an emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. Crooks, 23, was not wearing a parachute.

The autopsy report backed up investigators, who also concluded Crooks' death was accidental. He was working for a private company, dropping skydivers. The plane encountered turbulence while flying at about 3,500 feet, and all accounts agree that Crooks reported feeling sick. He opened a window for air, WTVD reports, but still didn't feel well, so he apologized to the pilot and walked toward the back of the CASA C-212 Aviocar, where its rear ramp was open for ventilation. His body was found in the backyard of a home southwest of Raleigh. The pilot told investigators that Crooks had been "visibly upset" about a hard landing that had damaged the plane's emergency gear. (More plane accident stories.)

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