RALEIGH, NC — The death of a pilot who fell from a plane headed to the Raleigh-Durham International Aiprot in July has been ruled an accident.
An autopsy report released on Wednesday states Charles Crooks’ death was likely the result of falling out the back of the plane while vomiting.
According to the autopsy the 23-year-old sustained extensive injuries, including several broken bones and fatal internal injuries.
Crooks was flying a medium-cargo CASA 212 aircraft on July 29 with an unnamed copilot.
After taking a load of skydivers to their drop point, the plane returned to the airstrip at Raeford in Hoke County. When they tried to land, the right wheel of the plane came off, causing a hard landing.
The pilots then decided to ascend and make an emergency landing at RDU.
Reports show the plane hit turbulence while traveling to RDU.
According to a report by the National Transportation Safety Board, Crooks was upset by the hard landing and became restless. He tried to roll down the cockpit window and “may have vomited.”
He then “lowered the ramp in the back of the airplane, indicating that he felt like he was going to be sick and needed air.”
While early reports and 911 calls said Crooks “jumped” or “exited” the plane, his autopsy rules that he fell from the aircraft “accidentally.”