Authorities in North Carolina are trying to figure out how and why the copilot of a CA 212 twin ended up falling into the backyard of a home in a suburb of Raleigh just before the pilot made an emergency landing at Raleigh International Airport. According to an ATC recording obtained by WRAL the unidentified pilot called ATC to report he was in trouble. “Emergency, we’ve lost our right wheel,” said the pilot in the recording. “We’d like to speak to Raleigh and make an emergency landing at Raleigh.” There is one published report the captain subsequently reported the other pilot had left the aircraft but the circumstances aren’t clear.
The aircraft, a 19-place STOL turboprop twin built by CASA (now Airbus) in Spain, went on to the airport to make a rocky but successful landing and skid into the infield about 3:20 p.m. Shortly after, first responders found the body of the copilot, Charles Hew Crooks, 23 in the backyard of a home in Fuquay-Varina. The pilot suffered minor injuries and was taken to a local hospital but released later that evening. The station interviewed Crooks’ father (his name wasn’t provided) and he did not know how his son left the aircraft. “I can’t imagine what happened,” his father said. “We’ll figure it out, I suppose.”