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Pilot Jumps or Falls Out of Plane to His Death, Police Investigating

Pilot Jumps or Falls Out of Plane to His Death, Police Investigating

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Aviation investigators are scratching their heads over a 10-person plane that took off with 2 pilots, but returned with just one … after one of them fell to his death while they were midair.

An emergency landing went down at Raleigh Durham International Airport after 23-year-old co-pilot Charles Hew Crooks either fell or jumped to his death Friday while they were in the skies, according to federal authorities.

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They were trying to get back to the ground as safe as possible after the plane lost its right wheel … when Crooks exited the small 10-seater.

His body was found roughly 30 miles away, stuck in the trees of someone’s backyard — he had no parachute on him and authorities believe he fell 3,500 feet.

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Both the Federal Aviation Authority and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating whether or not he died before the fall.

The other pilot was taken to a nearby hospital with minor injuries, and released the same day.

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Crooks’ father, Hew Crooks, told WRAL he’s unable to process the news … saying his son “wouldn’t trade places with anybody in the world. He loved w. he was.”

Crooks, who was a flight instructor, got his private pilot license while just a sophomore in college … and his father can’t imagine what happened.

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