Crocodile kills 20 people on plane

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A crocodile, that was smuggled onto a plane in a sports bag, escaped and caused a mass panic, ending in the deaths of 20 people.

A plane crash in the Democratic Republic of Congo that killed 20 people has been blamed on a crocodile that was smuggled on board in a holdall.

The single survivor of the crash explained that the crocodile had somehow managed to escape on the domestic flight from the capital of Kinshasa to a regional airport in Bandundu, causing mass panic among the passengers.

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, a terrified stewardess ran towards the cockpit, followed by passengers. The result was that the small Let L-410 Turbolet plane was thrown off-balance and crashed into an empty house in a field, apparently not far from its destination.

It has since been reported in The Sun that the co-pilot and first officer was Chris Wilson, 39, of Gloucestershire.

The crocodile itself is said to have survived the crash but was later killed with a machete by rescuers who were searching the wreckage for survivors. It hasn't been reported what size the crocodile in this incident was.

The BBC reported last year that a 30cm/12" baby crocodile caused panic on an Egypt Air flight when it escaped from the luggage bag that had been used to smuggle it onto the plane and made its way down the cabin, before it was eventually caught by members of the flight crew and donated to a local zoo. 

Also reported by the BBC last year was the case of a helicopter pilot in Australia who became so excited when he spotted a crocodile that he flew in for a closer look - and crashed into mudflats. He suffered minor injuries, but his passenger was seriously hurt in the crash near the northern city of Darwin.