Man who fell off plane in North Carolina was from Fairfield

The national story that rocked the country is now a hit closer to home.

The man who recently died in a plane crash in North Carolina grew up in Fairfield.

Charles Crooks attended Osborne Hill Elementary School. The staff remembered him as a wonderful child and spoke very fondly of his family.

On July 29, a witness near an airport in Raleigh, North Carolina, called police about a plane forced to make an emergency landing after the co-pilot fell out of the plane.

Police say Crooks accidentally fell off the plane while checking the landing gear and died.

“We want to reach out and connect with the family and express our grief, but it’s also great that he loved to fly. I think that’s great.”

Members of Above The Clouds Kids, a Boston nonprofit that provides flights to children in underserved communities, are accepting donations to commemorate Crooks at the request of families.

“We’ve had some donations, which is really cool,” said Marie Freisleben of Above the Clouds Kids.

Crooks’ obituary reads, “He was always guided by a powerful moral compass, a fierce love and loyalty to family and friends, and an open and tolerant heart.”

He was a flight instructor at Raleigh-Durham Airport.

The people of North Carolina are trying to understand how this happened.

“I don’t know if we can really know. But it’s just crazy,” said a witness.

The Crookes family is holding a private service at their church in Westport this weekend.

Authorities continue to investigate the incident.

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