The co-pilot of a aircraft died after jumping or falling out of the plane while it was preparing to make an emergency landing.
The pilot reported that the twin-engine CASA CN-212 Aviocar lost its landing gear and requested permission to land at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
“Emergency, we’ve lost our right wheel,” the pilot told air traffic controllers in audio obtained by WRAL. “We’d like to speak to Raleigh and make an emergency landing at Raleigh.”
Video showed the plane coming in for a hard landing and skidding off the runway. The pilot was taken to the hospital for minor injuries and has since been released.
The body of the co-pilot, 23-year-old Charles Hew Crooks, was found several hours later in a backyard about 25 miles from the airport.
Officials have not determined if he fell out of the plane or if he jumped. He was not wearing a parachute.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will lead the investigation into the incident.