Congo Plane Crash: Smuggled Crocodile Escapes, Panicked Passengers Stampede

10/25/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, US // Sandra Quinlan // Sandra Quinlan

Bandundu, Democratic Republic of Congo—The sole survivor of a deadly Aug. 25 plane crash in Africa has shared bizarre new details as to how the wreck really occurred. According to an October 22, 2010 ABC News report, a crocodile that was smuggled on board escaped as the plane neared its destination, leading passengers to stampede and throwing the aircraft off balance.

Jeune Afrique, an African magazine, unveiled the unidentified survivor’s account of what happened on that tragic day. While investigators initially seemed to believe a “lack of fuel” caused the plane crash, the survivor contended otherwise.

The survivor alleged another passenger smuggled a crocodile on board. However, just as the propeller plane was on its final approach, the reptile managed to escape. The survivor, whose identity was withheld, stated, “The terrified air hostess hurried towards the cockpit, followed by the passengers.”

Danny Philemotte, a 62-year-old Belgian pilot, was at the controls of the Czech-made L-410 Turbolet when the panicked passengers threw it off balance.

According to airplane safety consultant John Cox, “It’s possible. It’s remote… You could run the center of gravity forward where it wouldn’t be controllable. Twenty people at 200 pounds each, it’s possible.”

Nineteen people were killed when the plane crashed into a house in close proximity to Bandundu Airport. The crocodile survived the wreck but was executed by authorities shortly after. The extent of the survivor’s injuries was not specified.

Data provided by the International Air Transport Association indicated the number of major aviation accidents per million takeoffs in Africa was 4.3 just a few years ago. The worldwide average, on the other hand, is 0.65.

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan– Legal News for Aviation Accident Lawyers.

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