The co-pilot who jumped out of a plane mid-flight without a parachute over North Carolina on July 29 was “visibly upset” during the flight, the National Transportation Safety Board said in an initial report released this week.
The co-pilot died from his injuries. The pilot who remained in control of the plane was not injured.
According to the NTSB, the plane made an attempt to land at the Raeford West Airport in North Carolina. The co-pilot then attempted to do a “go-around maneuver” which effectively would have been to redo the landing. Before the plane could regain altitude, the right landing gear struck the runway.
The lead pilot then took control of the plane and flew over the airport where officials on the ground confirmed the damage. The plane was then diverted to Raleigh-Durham International Airport to make an emergency landing.
En route to Raleigh-Durham, the co-pilot was in communication with air traffic controllers, the NTSB reported.
The lead pilot told the NTSB the co-pilot opened his side cockpit window, and “may have gotten sick.”
The lead pilot then said the co-pilot “got up from his seat, removed his headset, apologized, and departed the airplane via the aft ramp door,” the NTSB reported. The lead pilot then communicated with air traffic controllers that the co-pilot departed the plane without a parachute.
The pilot, alone on the plane, was able to bring the aircraft down as it came to a rest in the grass.