A small airliner with 21 people, including the flight crew, on
board went down in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a
crocodile got away from the passenger that had smuggled it on board
causing what was described as panic on board the aircraft. Only one
person survived the accident.
L-410 File Photo
That survivor, who has not been identified, said when the
reptile got away from the person who had smuggled it on board,
people in the cabin fled from the animal, throwing the airplane far
out of its balance envelope. The survivor said the Dutch pilot and
owner of the Czech-made Let L-410 Turbolet, identified as
62-year-old Danny Philemotte, "struggled" to try to maintain
control of the aircraft, but eventually it went down in a
residential area just short of the runway impacting a house. The
occupants were outside at the time and were uninjured.
The UK Telegraph reports that the witness said the August 25th
accident occurred while the airplane was on approach to Bandundu in
the DRC. A passenger had brought the croc onto the plane in a large
sports bag, and had reportedly intended to sell it. When it
got a way, the official report says that "the terrified air hostess
hurried towards the cockpit, followed by the passengers."
The only other survivor of the accident was the crocodile, which
was later killed by authorities at the crash site.