On August 25th, a FILair flight flying from Kinshasa Ndolo crashed into a building only a few kilometers from its destination of Bandundu. All three crew members and 16 passengers died in the crash. Of the two passengers rescued, one died later of his injuries.
The aircraft was a Czech-made LET-410 twin similar to the photograph at the left. According to Wikipedia, the Let L-410 Turbolet first flew in 1969, and with more than 1100 produced, is the most popular 19-seat plane in history. It is primary used for passenger transport.
At the time of the fatal accident, the governor stated that the aircraft must have run out of fuel, having initiated a go-around at Bandundu Airport. However, 150 litres of fuel were recovered from the wreckage.
Initial reports stated that the crew were coming in to land at a “reserve strip” rather than the main runway, which caused the passengers to panic. The plane became unstable and crashed.
However, Jeune Afrique have published an article that new information is available regarding the crash, which if true would make it one of the most bizarre accident reports that I have ever seen.
The True Reasons for the Crash of Bandundu says that there was a panic in the aircraft but it was nothing to do with the runway heading.
They say that there was an crocodile loose in the plane.
Jeune Afrique say they have insider information and claim that according to the Comité Professionel des Transporteurs Aériens report and the statements from the sole survivor, the crocodile was the cause of the crash.
Apparently, one of the passengers of the flight concealed a live crocodile, which he intended to resell, in a large sports bag. The reptile burst out of the bag as the aircraft commenced its descent to Bandundu. The hostess, alarmed, fled to the cockpit. The passengers rushed after her. Unbalanced, the aircraft went into a spin. The flight crew were both experienced pilots with strong reputations but they had no chance to recover the plane.
Jeune Afrique ends with the “tragic-comic” conclusion that the crocodile survived the impact but was then killed by a rescuer with a machete. The article states that the crocodile can be seen emerging from the plane in a video on YouTube but having watched all the footage of the wreckage that I could find, I saw no trace of unexpected reptiles.
Today, the Aviation Herald reacted negatively to the news reports regarding the story. Comments asking about the crocodile and linking to the mainstream press have been deleted. In their place, a comment was left asking people to stop leaving such comments.
By Simon Hradecky on Friday, Oct 22nd 2010 10:56Z
There is no point in mentioning the Crocodile or referring to other news sources. Those comments are going to be deleted.
We are fully aware of the news reports regarding the Crocodile which are so ridiculous and not officially confirmed that we do not mirror this well invented story.
Other news sources claim, that the survivor said there was a crocodile on board causing the imbalance. However, what is known officially about the testimony of that witness was reported by us and does not mention any animal.
Meanwhile, the Aircraft crashes after crocodile on board escapes and sparks panic article in the Telegraph is listed as today’s most viewed news.