A preliminary report released by the national Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday (August 16) shared new details regarding the co-pilot who fatally fell out of an airplane last month.
The plane's pilot in command told federal investigators that Charles Hew Crooks, 23, "became visibly upset about the hard landing" shortly after the vessel diverted to another airport in order to make an emergency landing, the report stated via the Charlotte Observer.
Crooks and the pilot had flown two skydiving runs out of Raeford West Airport and were en route back to the facility for a third run when the plane "dropped" and its landing gear struck a runway, according to the report.
The pilot directed Crooks to declare an emergency and coordinate with air traffic controllers at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on an emergency landing.
Crooks reportedly became "visibly upset" about the hard landing after roughly 20 minutes and stopped communicating with air traffic controllers, at which point he "may have gotten sick" and lowered the ramp in the back of the airplane, seemingly indicating that he needed air at the time.
The reports states that Crooks “got up from his seat, removed his headset, apologized and departed the airplane via the aft ramp door."
Earlier this month, a clip of radio calls between an air traffic controller and the pilot of the plane includes the pilot stating, "my co-pilot just ran out the back of the plane."
The clip, which was shared on Soundcloud, includes the pilot reiterating multiple times that Crooks had "jumped out the back of the plane," noting specifically that the man did so "without a parachute."
A full transcript provided by TheDrive.com can be viewed below:
Pilot (P): "Raleigh Approach, Shady 02."
Raleigh Approach (RA): "Shady 02, Raleigh"
P: "My co-pilot just ran out the back of the plane."
RA: "Shady 02, what now?"
P: "He just ran out the back of the plane."
RA: "So you don't have a co-pilot on you, sir?"
P: "No, he just jumped out the back of the plane."
RA: "Uh, roger."
P: "Would you like me to circle where he leapt at?"
RA: "Uh, say that again?"
P: "Would you like me to circle where he got out at, or you got me on track?"
RA: "We've still got you on track, but did you need something else?"
P: "No, the dude literally jumped out the back of the plane without a parachute."
(Seven seconds of silence)
RA: "Shady 02, did you need to do something else, circle or something, or-"
P: "No, I need to land. I'm just making you aware you're gonna have a dead body out where I just called you at. He just jumped out the back of the plane."
RA: "Roger, continue on your heading 0-5-0."
P: "Roger, 0-5-0, 0-2."
Law enforcement sources had previously told TMZ that there was an operating theory that Crooks could've gone to the back of the plane and opened the cargo door to inspect a damaged landing gear, which led to him accidentally falling out of the aircraft prior to it making an emergency landing.
The theory came after a 13-minute recording of a 911 call made by two Federal Aviation Administration employees obtained by NBC News suggested that Crooks may have jumped out of the plane.
“This is from Raleigh Airport. We have a pilot that was inbound to the field. His co-pilot jumped out of the aircraft," an FAA employee is heard saying before providing the coordinates of where the incident took place. "So, they said he jumped out of the aircraft. His copilot jumped out without the parachute so he might have impact to the ground.”
"I guess at this point in time, all we can really do is kind of do a recovery," the dispatcher is heard saying.
"Yeah, I know. Yeah, I mean, I don't know," another FAA worker who takes over the call said. "This is the craziest thing I've ever dealt with. I mean, I'm sure this pilot is going to be shaken up. I have no idea. He literally just said, 'my pilot just jumped out.'"
In July, WRAL shared the audio exchange between the pilot and air traffic control in which the pilot asks for help before his Crooks fell to his death.
"Emergency, we've lost our right wheel. We would like to proceed to Raleigh and make a landing at Raleigh," the pilot said.
Daily Mail reports it obtained the 40-minute exchange and reports that the pilot confirmed "we have two persons on board" while speaking to air traffic control.
Crooks, who was later found dead about 30 miles south of the airport in Fuqua-Varina, was not wearing a parachute when he jumped out of the plane, Wake County emergency management spokesperson Darshan Patel confirmed during a news conference on July 29 via NBC News.
The twin-engine CASA CN-212 Aviocar made an emergency landing in a grass area at Raleigh-Durham International Airport at 2:40 p.m. on July 29, according to the Federal Aviation Administration via NBC News.
Video shared by WRAL shows the plane skid off the runway and partially spin in a circle before finally coming to a complete stop.
Multiple agencies assisted in the search for Crooks before his body was located just prior to 7:00 p.m. on July 29.
A resident in Fuqua-Varina flagged down an officer and said they'd heard a noise coming from behind their home where Crooks' body was eventually located.
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are continuing to an active investigation into the incident.