20 People Die In Plane Crash Caused By Loose Crocodile

An August plane crash in the Democratic Republic of Congo was blamed on a balance in the small aircraft. But what caused that loss of balance? According to the flight’s only survivor, the passengers were running away from a stowaway on the flight: a live crocodile.

The croc escaped from the duffel bag a passenger had stashed it in while attempting to smuggle the animal.

The real reason for the crash wasn’t initially made public. Shortly after the accident, the Aviation Herald reported:

The passengers noticed that the airplane was not heading for the runway 11/29 (1380 meters/4530 feet long) and began shouting, then rushed to the cockpit unbalancing the aircraft to a point, where control was lost.

A loss of balance was the reason for the crash, yes, but that wasn’t why the passengers rushed the cockpit. The magazine Jeune Afrique reported the real reason earlier this week. but plane was off-balance because of the stampede of terrified passengers and crew trying to get away from the crocodile.

Two passengers survived the crash. Ironically, so did the crocodile. One of the survivors later died, and the crocodile was killed with a machete by an unidentified person.

Les vraies raisons du crash de Bandundu [Jeune Afrique] (Who says my B.A. in French was useless?)
Escaped crocodile sparked panic which brought down airliner killing British pilot and 19 others [Daily Mail] (Thanks, Lauren!)
Crash: Filair L410 at Bandundu on Aug 25th 2010, impacted building [Aviation Herald]


Edit Your Comment

  1. zibby says:

    Consumer lesson: Don’t fly with crocodiles if you can help it.

  2. georgi55 says:

    Crocodile on a plane

  3. anarkie says:

    I’m sick of these m’fing crocodiles on this m’fing plane!!

    • physics2010 says:

      Thank you. I was wondering how far down I was going to have to read before I hit this comment. 3 down. And I didn’t have to post it. :-)

  4. dreamfish says:

    Yep, the inclusion of an escaped crocodile makes the death of 20 people a hoot.

  5. rpm773 says:

    Great. Now I’m going to have Yakety Sax in my head all day.

    • dangermike says:



      And does anyone else think this is starting to feel like Drew Curtis’s Consumerist or something?

  6. suez says:

    When they said “Check your handbag,” they meant check to see if it’s still alive…

  7. Dover says:

    Too bad there wasn’t inflight wifi, they could have used this timely article: artofmanliness.com/2010/10/19/how-to-wrestle-an-alligator/

  8. NeverLetMeDown says:

    I know baggage fees are a pain, but seriously, there are some things for which you just gotta suck it up and check them.

  9. obits3 says:

    This wouldn’t have happened if Chuck Norris was on that plane…

  10. Torgonius wants an edit button says:

    Was the airline a cousin of AirTran (ValuJet)?

  11. georgi55 says:

    Hopefully their families will get “No croc on plane guarantee fee” refunded.

  12. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    All these women buying alligator skin purses has got to stop. It’s just getting ridiculous.

  13. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    All these women buying alligator skin purses has got to stop. It’s just getting ridiculous.

  14. econobiker says:

    This is a region where people still believe in voodoo style witch-craft (not the new agey wytch craft stuff in the first world) and still don’t understand viral transmission (AIDS, Ebola, etc). So it is understandable they would completely freak about a croc small enough to fit in a duffle bag.

    And that the airport security measures weren’t enough to find a croc in a duffle bag means that surely someone would have had a weapon of some sort that they could have killed the croc with…

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Um, I don’t think you have to believe in witchdoctors and misunderstand modern medicine to completely freak out about a crocodile on your plane.

      • Moosenogger says:

        Considering the close quarters, I’d say it wouldn’t have been all that frightening. Shocking, yes, but a crocodile that small would have had a hell of a time attacking you. As long as you stayed above or behind it (a simple matter if you climb over seats), you could stay out of it’s range or possibly even hold it’s mouth closed. Not like it could try to do a death roll when it has .2 inches of space in the aisle.

  15. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    I call water buffalo chips. Neither story rumbas true.

  16. raybury says:

    Another account indicated that people rushed into the cockpit, causing the pilot to lose control. Now that would indicate that the pilot was not Captain Sully-level, and that autopilot has not made the same headway in the DRC as in much of the world. But more importantly, it would indicate a lack of hardened cockpit doors.

    Twenty people dead due to a croc is a tragedy, but if hardened cockpit doors could have saved them, they could still save hundreds or thousands from a central African 9/11.

  17. Thanatos says:

    I’m just wondering if the owner of the crocodile was one of those survivors…

  18. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Why would someone be flying a crocodile-for-resale from Kinsasha – the largest city – to a smaller interior town on the Congo with enough crocs of their own. Surely the croc trade would be in the opposite direction.

  19. ill informed says:

    the comments on this story are disturbing

    • BluePlastic says:

      I agree. You can’t read anything on this site anymore without people making puns and jokes anyway, which isn’t particularly interesting to read IMO. Then something like this happens, where it’s even more inappropriate. Ugh.

      • backbroken says:

        Snark, not English, is the official language of the internet. Get used to it because it ain’t going away.

        • ill informed says:

          these are all very *poor* attempts at being funny though. snakes on a plane jokes, chuck norris jokes, airline fees, an insult to the region’s religious practices, and somehow a 9/11 reference was worked in

          • backbroken says:

            The only reason this story was posted was to stir up a bunch of hits from people trying to one-up the funny.

            I really can’t get too worked up about the comments. That’s what this thread was for, unless you think Consumerist is trying to warn us about the growing crocodile problem on airplanes. When people threadjack the serious stories (which are rare anyway) then you have a point.

          • brianary says:

            Average humor is average.

    • TasteyCat says:

      Okay, but I LOLed.

    • hotcocoa says:

      That they are…At least I have a better idea of whose comments to avoid elsewhere on the site.

  20. Mcshonky says:

    WTF!!!!! Where’s the TSA when you need them?


  21. Griking says:

    This is what happens when you don’t let the receipt checker check your bag.

  22. haggis for the soul says:

    Yeah, well who doesn’t take a duffel bag full of crocodile with them while traveling?

  23. KyBash says:

    The croc probably wasn’t being smuggled — it was an anti-theft device.