Hat tip to Sylvia and her Fear of Landing blog for pointing out a truly bizarre story about an August 25th crash of a Czech-made LET-410 in the Congo and the possible cause of it. According to news reports, a FILair flight flying from Kinshasa crashed into a building just a few kilometers short of its destination (Bandundu). The crash killed all three crew members (including the Belgian pilot and his British co-pilot, who was from Shurdington, near Cheltenham, Glocs) and 16 passengers upon impact with only two passengers being rescued (one of whom later dies of his injuries).
After the incident, the surviving passenger made a statement about the passengers panicking and rushing the cockpit – causing the aircraft, which was on a diversionary course to a different runway, to become unstable. Then the Jeune Afrique published an article (The True Reasons for the Crash of Bandundu) saying that the cause of the panic had nothing to do with the runway heading the aircraft was flying but was caused by a crocodile getting loose in the aircraft passenger cabin.
According to insider information, a passenger had concealed a live crocodile in a duffel bag which got loose as the plane was descending. The stewardess then fled to the cockpit – followed by all of the passengers. This caused the aircraft to go into an uncontrolled spin and crash.
Ironically, the crocodile apparently survived the crash – only to be killed by a rescuer armed with a machete. You can read more about the incident in Thursday’s edition of the Telegraph.