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Pilot found dead after exiting plane without parachute during emergency landing

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The body of a man who exited an aircraft mid-air before it made an emergency landing on Friday near Raleigh in North Carolina has been recovered, authorities said.

In a statement the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that around 2.40pm local time, a twin-engine CASA CN-212 Aviocar landed in the grass at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

An airport spokesperson said that the pilot of the plane was found alone in the aircraft and was taken to a hospital with minor injuries.

The plane’s co-pilot Charles Hew Crooks, 23, who was not wearing a parachute, did not survive the fall and was found in the backyard of a Fuquay-Varina resident, reported WRAL-TV.

The town of Fuquay-Varina is about 30 miles (48km) south of the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

In a statement Fuquay-Varina police said on Facebook: “Earlier today, surrounding law enforcement and fire service agencies responded to the Sonoma Springs Subdivision with the objective of locating the co-pilot that had exited a plane while in mid-flight.”

The police then responded to information provided by a Captain Cove resident.

“After further investigation, we were able to positively identify the co-pilot. With the assistance of City-County Bureau of Identification, we were able to identify the co-pilot’s next of kin. The father of the co-pilot located in Fairfield, Connecticut, was notified of the incident.

It was not immediately clear if Crooks jumped from the plane or fell out of the aircraft, and the authorities are also not certain of the plane’s height when Crooks exited.

A map of the plane’s flight path from flight-tracking service ADS-B Exchange suggested that the plane was at about 3,800 feet, said Darshan Patel, operations manager for Wake County emergency management, at a news briefing.

First responders found Crooks when a resident flagged them down after they “heard something in their backyard,” Mr Patel was quoted as saying.

According to audio recordings obtained by WRAL-TV from the plane, a pilot can be heard asking air traffic control for help.

“Emergency, we’ve lost our right wheel,” said the pilot in the recording.

“We’d like to speak to Raleigh and make an emergency landing at Raleigh.”

Videos obtained by the news outlet show the plane skid off the runway, where it spins in a partial circle before coming to a stop.

The video also shows ambulances waiting at the site.

The incident is being probed by the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board.

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