RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Further details in the form of official government records relating to the pilot who fatally jumped before an emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in July were released Monday to CBS 17.
CBS 17 already learned that Charles Crooks fatally jumped from a cargo plane without a parachute, but now has more clarity on the timeline during which responding rescue agencies were made aware of the jump and how he was found.
Official documents said Monday that Raleigh-Wake dispatch contacted EMS between 2:30 and 2:40 p.m. on July 29 about a call from the Federal Aviation Administration that a “person may have jumped from an aircraft without a parachute” and the Cary Police Department was also dispatched to the area.
This also matches 911 calls previously released in the incident, that was also reported by CBS 17.
The documents revealed that 2:27 p.m. was when the first wave of communication for any sort of dispatch began making plans for responding.
The same document stated the co-pilot who remained in the plane confirmed with RDU that Crooks jumped out of the aircraft at 2:57 p.m. approximately 35 miles from the airport. This matches up with the log, that confirms the response teams arrived at the search area at 2:56 p.m.
Following Crooks’ jump confirmation, Cary Fire and Wake EMS 101 & 202 were released and secured at what was eventually confirmed as the landing location – West Lake Middle School – just after 3 p.m. This was traced by Crooks’ cell phone and confirmed by wireless carrier AT&T, documents showed.
The “hard landing,” as it was referred to in the log, then allowed for the use of SARTopo, or “widely-used, collaborative online and offline mapping tool for use in Search and Rescue”.
It was then that Crooks’ body was eventually found in the 5100 block of Copian Cove in Fuquay-Varina.
Government documents Monday confirmed that 30 members of law enforcement aided in the search that led to the discovery of Crooks’ body. Communications logs revealed their assignment was strictly to “search different areas of a flight path for a co-pilot that jumped from a plane at 3,500 feet. Stay cool and hydrated.”
CBS 17 previously reported that Crooks was confirmed to have “got up from his seat, removed his headset, apologized and departed the airplane via the aft ramp door…There was a bar that someone could grab about six feet up from the ramp, he [the other co-pilot] did not see Crooks grabbing the bar before exiting the airplane.”
This matches up as the National Transportation Safety Board said Crooks “opened the cockpit window…then lowered the ramp in the back of the airplane”.
The documents released Monday said responding officials received these coordinates of when the ramp dropped “from rampart Aviation, [the] owner of [the] plane advised this is where ramp of [the] plane was lowered.” This helped in locating Crooks’ body.
No details have emerged with a final answer on why Crooks left the aircraft and at the time of the NTSB report, it said it could take between 12-18 months for one.
Kathryn Hubbard, Ashley Anderson Deana Harley, Mariah Ellis, Gilat Melamed and Rod Overton contributed to this article.