In 2010 a Crocodile Crashed a Plane and Survived

In 2010 a Crocodile Crashed a Plane and Survived

Stephanie Schoppert - December 2, 2016

On August 25th, 2010, a 1991 Let L-410 Turbolet was flying from N’Dolo Airport, Kinshasa on its way to Bandundu Airport in Bandundu, Mai-Ndombe District. At the controls was Daniel Philemotte, Belgian owner of the airline. Chris Wilson was the co-pilot and there were 18 passengers and 1 crew member on board the flight. Chris Wilson was a British pilot who had begun flying with the airline as part of his training to get 1,000 hours to be a commercial pilot. Chris Wilson often spoke of the inability of Philemotte to fly the plane and that he could not even read the instruments properly. Chris even mentioned that every time he flew with Philemotte there was some incident or another.

At approximately 1:00pm local time the plane crashed into a house just 1km short of the runway. No one that was on the ground was injured but both pilots, 1 crew member and 17 passengers died. Most of those who died in the crash were Congolese. There was no explosion when the plane hit the ground which led some to speculate that the plane had crashed due to lack of fuel. However, an investigation found that there was still 150 litres of kerosene on board the plane, more than enough to be able to land it safely. This led to the belief that some sort of technical issue had caused the plane crash. There was nothing radioed in by the pilots of any failure and there were issues getting information from the black box.

Those who witnesses the crash say that it just suddenly fell out of the sky “like a leaf.” An investigation began as not only did the families want answers but other countries did as well. Britain was particularly interested in knowing what had caused their death of one of their own citizens, Chris Wilson. Through the investigation, a number of different theories were examined such as pilot error, engine failure, issues from poor maintenance, overloading of the plane and fuel shortage.

However, it was not until the sole survivor was questioned and reports were taken from those who were first on the scene to the crash did another theory for the crash emerge. Click next to read why you should never being a crocodile in your carry-on.

In 2010 a Crocodile Crashed a Plane and Survived
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The sole survivor of the crash told a vivid account of how the crocodile suddenly emerged from the holdall scaring the flight attendant. The flight attendant then ran to the cockpit. The rest of the frightened passengers did the same. The sudden rush to the front of the plane caused a weight imbalance causing the front of the plane to nose-dive toward the ground.

Reports on the ground suggest that the crocodile survived the flight and was found near the plane by rescuers. The rescuers used a machete to kill the crocodile in order to continue with the rescue operation. There may not have been much thought to the appearance of the crocodile, until the testimony from the passenger was heard. There were some reports that there was video footage of the crocodile emerging from the wreckage.

Further reports after the crash suggested that the crocodile would have been between two and three feet long. While it may seem strange it was not uncommon for passengers to bring animals planes though it was usually chickens or domesticated animals. The crocodile was likely brought on board by a passenger who intended to sell it and was using the plane as a taxi to reach his buyer.

While most have accepted the story of the crocodile as the likely reason for the crash, there is no official reason for the crash. One expert stated that the most likely explanation was a stall and spin which can be caused by any number of things (such as passengers trying to escape a crocodile?). But since there was little information gathered from the black box and witness testimony is unreliable it is unlikely that the full story behind why this plane crashed will never be known. For now, the story told by the passenger of a crocodile on board the plane is the scenario that most believe to be the truth.

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