Nearly four years ago, a passenger plane operating for Filair in the Democratic Republic of Congo crashed near Bandundu Airport, killing 15 passengers and three crew members. One passenger survived, and it is his account—along with new investigation information—that has revealed a very strange possible cause for the aircraft’s seemingly sudden dive.
The aircraft, a Let L-410 turboprop, was at maximum passenger capacity when it began its initial descent into Bandundu Airport when it entered what investigators assume was a stall and spin, ultimately causing the aircraft to plunge to the ground, eventually hitting a building. Since the crash, investigators struggled with conflicting witness reports and a lack of access to the aircraft’s black box.
This week, however, an inquest into the first officer’s death (Chris Wilson, 39) revealed what may be one of the strangest theories yet. The only surviving passenger told investigators that a small crocodile had escaped from a passenger’s carry-on bag, frightening a flight attendant that rushed forward to the flight deck. Other passengers followed, and the shift in the aircraft’s center of gravity may have caused the plane to stall and ultimately spin.
While investigators are taking the report with a grain of salt, they noted that it is not unusual for passengers to carry animals with them on Filair flights. Many other possibilities had been considered, but conflicting evidence caused many of them to be disregarded.
The Phoenix aviation accident lawyers at Curry, Pearson & Wooten extend their sympathies to the families of the victims, and sincerely hope that a final probably cause is reached to offer some closure.