Copilot’s Fall From Jump Plane Ruled An Accident


The death of a young copilot who fell from a jump plane in North Carolina last July was an accident, an autopsy report has ruled. The report, obtained by NBC News, says Charles Hew Crooks, 23, died from injuries resulting from his fall to a backyard in a suburb of Raleigh on July 29 and deemed the tumble accidental. He wasn’t sick and didn’t have any “drugs of abuse” in his system. It suggests Crooks was trying to get a breath of air when he went out the open cargo ramp at the back of the CASA 212.

The NTSB preliminary report quoted the pilot, who has not been identified, as saying Crooks was “visibly upset” after the landing gear was damaged in a landing attempt at a private field about 100 miles from Raleigh earlier that day. The pilots opted to head for Raleigh for an emergency landing. The autopsy report says that on the way to Raleigh Crooks told the pilot he wasn’t feeling well after the plane hit moderate turbulence. After first opening a side window for air “and possibly to vomit,” the report says Crooks got up and headed to the back where the ramp had been opened for ventilation. “At some point, the pilot realized that he had apparently fallen from the aircraft,” the report says.

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  1. Wait a minute…the first paragraph states he wasn’t ill while the second one pretty graphically states he was. Also, he would have fallen “into” a backyard, not “to” it.

    Something just doesn’t add up here: what does the operator’s Ops Specs state regarding crew members moving in the cargo bay with the ramp down (i.e. tether requirements)?

      • Sir, where do you infer an legal action in my statement? I’m simply curious to know what the company’s procedures are for crew members occupying the cargo area with the ramp down in flight. And yes, maybe it WOULD have prevented the sad loss of this young man.

        And here’s a grammar lesson for you, too:

        Let’s and lets are based on the same verb, let, which means to allow or give permission.

        Let’s is a contraction of “let us.” You use it to make suggestions about what you and someone else should do. “Let’s go to the movies.”

        Lets is the third-person singular present tense form of verb let, which means to allow or give permission. “If Mom lets us go to the movies without her, I’ll be surprised.”

  2. An autopsy report… Wouldn’t that essentially tell you WHAT happened to his body? How to you get to WHY from there? How about “We don’t know why he ended up in that backyard”? That sounds more reasonable. The stuff mentioned wasn’t clues. If he HAD had “drugs of abuse” in him, that still could have been an accident. Weird. If he WAS distraught enough over the incident to throw his life away, doesn’t sound like a guy you want flying you.