NORTH CAROLINA — A twin-engine cargo plane made an emergency landing at a North Carolina airport on Friday after reports of landing gear problems and a search for a person who jumped from the plane before the landing ended with the recovery of a body, officials said from Wake County.
Darshan Patel, the Wake County Emergency Management Wake EMS operations manager, said in a 7:15 p.m. briefing that a body matching the description of the missing plane passenger was recovered.
The man identified as Charles Hew Crooks, 23, was found in Fuquay-Varina.
According to Patel, “there was no indication” that Crooks had a parachute.
“We had officers responding to searches in the area who were stopped by a local resident. They heard something in their backyard that led to us finding this person,” Patel said.
The 1983 Spanish-made CASA C-212 Aviocar landed on runway 5R-23L at Raleigh-Durham International Airport at approximately 2:40 p.m. and turned onto the grass.
RDU first responders said the pilot on board was taken to Duke Hospital with minor injuries.
The pilot told authorities that a passenger on board jumped out before attempting to land. It was initially assumed that the jumper had left the aircraft in the direction of a body of water. Authorities actively searched this area but later expanded the search to Fuquay-Varina.
“We have a very large search area,” Patel said at a media briefing Friday afternoon.
“At this point, we know the passenger was wearing tan pants and a logo-branded shirt,” Patel said. “We don’t have the color, but that’s the only description we have at this point. We work with the RDU, the FAA and the pilot
Crews launched a drone to assist in the search. Cary was one of several jurisdictions involved in the search. The fire brigade, police and rescue services also helped.
Back at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, the airfield was temporarily closed until the scene was secured, RDU officials said.
At least one American Airlines flight (Flight 2693) from Dallas has been diverted. Others had delayed landings as a result of the incident.
The plane landed after failing to deploy its right landing gear. The left landing gear appeared to be working properly.
The aircraft is owned by Spore LTD LLC of Colorado Springs and took off from Raeford. Attempts to reach Spore LTD and Hoke County aviation officials were unsuccessful.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the incident.
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https://6abc.com/emergency-landing-north-carolina-rdu-body-found/12085357/ RDU emergency landing: Body of Charles Hew Crooks recovered after passenger jumps out of plane, officials say