20 Dead After Smuggled Crocodile Causes Plane Crash

20 Dead After Smuggled Crocodile Causes Plane Crash

A RAMPAGING crocodile reportedly sparked a horror plane crash that killed 20 people after being smuggled on board.

The airborne animal caused pandemonium on the propeller plane after bursting out of a bag en route to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Petrified travellers onboard the fateful Filair Let L-410 flight on August 25, 2010, watched in horror as the reptile ran riot.

The croc had climbed out of a passenger's carry-on bag just moments before landing, leaving people screaming in terror.

But as the deadly beast ran amok, they soon realised they had nowhere to run and began to completely panic.

All of the holidaymakers stampeded to one side of the tiny plane, throwing it dangerously off balance.

Passengers are even said to have made a bid to enter the cockpit during the chaos.

The sole survivor told authorities: "The terrified air hostess hurried towards the cockpit, followed by the passengers."

The plane plummeted due to the dramatic shift in its centre of gravity and reportedly crashed into a home in Bandundu, near to the regional airport.

Two pilots and 18 passengers were believed to have been killed instantly. There was a sole survivor of the smash.

The smuggled crocodile miraculously survived - but was killed with a machete by authorities in wake of the tragedy.

However, initial investigations suggested that the incident had been caused by low fuel levels, as the crash ended with no explosion.

But it was later confirmed that the crocodile escaping from the stuffed duffel bag during the flight was the principal factor.

It is believed to have been brought on board by a passenger who planned to illegally sell it.

Discussing the rarity of the circumstances, former airline captain turned safety consultant John Cox told ABC News: "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."

One of the late pilots was Chris Wilson, 39, a Brit acting as first officer on the flight that took off from the capital city of Kinshasa.

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