In 2010 a Crocodile Crashed a Plane and Survived

On August 25th, 2010,  a 1991 Let L-410 Turbolet was flying from N’Dolo Airport, Kinshasa on its way to Bandundu Airport in Bandundu, Mai-Ndombe District. At the controls was Daniel Philemotte, Belgian owner of the airline. Chris Wilson was the co-pilot and there were 18 passengers and 1 crew member on board the flight. Chris Wilson was a British pilot who had begun flying with the airline as part of his training to get 1,000 hours to be a commercial pilot. Chris Wilson often spoke of the inability of Philemotte to fly the plane and that he could not even read the instruments properly. Chris even mentioned that every time he flew with Philemotte there was some incident or another.

At approximately 1:00pm local time the plane crashed into a house just 1km short of the runway. No one that was on the ground was injured but both pilots, 1 crew member and 17 passengers died. Most of those who died in the crash were Congolese. There was no explosion when the plane hit the ground which led some to speculate that the plane had crashed due to lack of fuel. However, an investigation found that there was still 150 litres of kerosene on board the plane, more than enough to be able to land it safely. This led to the belief that some sort of technical issue had caused the plane crash. There was nothing radioed in by the pilots of any failure and there were issues getting information from the black box.

Those who witnesses the crash say that it just suddenly fell out of the sky “like a leaf.” An investigation began as not only did the families want answers but other countries did as well. Britain was particularly interested in knowing what had caused their death of one of their own citizens, Chris Wilson. Through the investigation, a number of different theories were examined such as pilot error, engine failure, issues from poor maintenance, overloading of the plane and fuel shortage.

However, it was not until the sole survivor was questioned and reports were taken from those who were first on the scene to the crash did another theory for the crash emerge. Click next to read why you should never being a crocodile in your carry-on.

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