Crocodile on a plane: Reptile ‘may have caused crash’ that killed 19

An escaped crocodile may have caused a plane crash in the Congo which killed 19 people, an inquest has heard. Chris Wilson, from the UK and Belgian Danny Philemotte were co-piloting the jet with 17 passengers on board when it plunged to the ground during a routine flight in August 2010. No cause for the crash has ever been established but an inquest was told a crocodile may have sparked a stampede by roaming around the aisles moments before the aircraft came down.

There is apparently a video of the crocodile being taken out of the plane. (Investigators) think it may have frightened the cabin crew member and she ran forward, with the other passengers following.

Assistant Coroner David Dooley

It is thought the plane, which was travelling from Kinshasa to Bandundu, may have nosedived as passengers and crew members ran from the reptile. Assistant Coroner David Dooley, in the UK, said it was “apparently quite normal” for animals to be carried on the plane, adding: “It was used like a taxi in this regard.” Mr Dooley recorded an open conclusion, saying a lack of witnesses and data from the black box “have only resulted in vague guesses as to what happened”.

There is no evidence suggesting an engine failure or a nose dive, although I cannot be sure without looking at the plane. Essentially, it fell out of the sky.

Timothy Atkinson, an air accident investigator