When someone in the Democratic Republic of Congo decided to try and smuggle a crocodile in their luggage on a short regional flight, they probably had no idea that it would lead to a stampede and a plane crash that would kill everyone on board— except one person and the crocodile.
The croc had been hidden in a passenger’s sports bag - allegedly with plans to sell it - but it tore loose and ran amok, sparking panic. A stampede of terrified passengers caused the small aircraft to lose balance and tip over in mid-air during an internal flight in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The unbalanced load caused the aircraft, on a routine flight from the capital, Kinshasa, to the regional airport at Bandundu, to go into a spin and crash into a house.
“According to the inquiry report and the testimony of the only survivor, the crash happened because of a panic sparked by the escape of a crocodile hidden in a sports bag,” news organisation Jeune Afrique reported. “One of the passengers had hidden the animal, which he planned to sell, in a big sports bag, from which the reptile escaped as the plane began its descent into Bandundu. “The terrified air hostess hurried towards the cockpit, followed by the passengers.” The plane was then sent off-balance “despite the desperate efforts of the pilot”, said the report. “The crocodile survived the crash before being cut up with a machete.”