Monday, 14 July 2014

Croc panic: Runaway crocodile may be behind deadly Congo plane crash

Published time: July 12, 2014 16:34

A 2010 plane crash in the Congo that killed 20 people may have been caused by passengers surging towards the flight deck to get away from an escaped crocodile, causing the plane to stall, a UK coroner's court heard.

The doomed plane was piloted by 62 year-old Danny Philemotte, who also owned the airline, and co-piloted by 39-year old Chris Wilson from Cheltenham, England.

It was en route from Kinshasa to Bandundu, when it crashed one kilometer short of the runway, killing all three crew members and 17 passengers. There was one survivor who became a crucial witness.

An inquest into the crash is taking place in Gloucester, England, near where the co-pilot came from. It found that an escaped crocodile, which managed to gnash its way out of a bag, may have caused a stampede in the cabin, causing the plane to nose dive.

First officer Chris Wilson ditched his job as a cabin crew member with a British airline and moved to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to follow his dream of becoming a pilot.

He joined the Congolese company Filair in order to clock up the 1,000 hours needed to get a commercial pilot's license.

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