Our friend James Paternoster sent us this story...a TRUE story, which occurred just recently in the DRC (Congo). Read on and be amazed.
A small airliner crashed into a house, killing a British pilot and 19 others after a crocodile smuggled into the aircraft in a sports bag escaped and started a panic.
It has now emerged that the crash was caused by the concealed reptile escaping and causing a stampede in the cabin, throwing the aircraft off-balance.
A lone survivor apparently relayed the bizarre tale to investigators.
The crocodile survived the crash, only to be dispatched with a blow from a machete.
Danny Philemotte, the Dutch pilot and 62-year-old owner of the plane's operator, Filair, struggled in vain with the controls, with Chris Wilson, his 39-year-old First Officer from Shurdington, near Cheltenham, Glocs. The plane was on a routine flight from the capital, Kinshasa, to the regional airport at Bandundu when the incident unfolded, on August 25. It crashed into a house just a few hundred feet from its destination. The occupants of the property were outside at the time.
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. 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.
A report of the incident said: "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 plane was a Czech-made Let L-410 Turbolet, one of more than 1,100 produced as short-range transport aircraft and used mainly for passenger services.
The week leading into the expedition I was away at a much needed retreat in Mombasa and could not be involved in packing whatsoever. As I left for Mombasa, I knew we were critically low on viscoelastic (a clear gel needed for eye surgery which had been on order for 6 months and still hadn't arrived!) and our portable surgical microscope was broken. Both are essential. I was consciously trying to trust God and the eye staff, but the OCD devil in me sure wasn't happy. He was saying, "Think of the 40+ person team and hundreds of patients in TZ depending on you. Think of the thousands of dollars invested. All it takes is one thing missing (viscoelastic, microscope, generator, blown microscope bulb with no spare, wrong power cord...) to ruin the mission."
No worries. Even if I wasn't feeling particularly up to going on a surgical expedition, apparently God was interested in making it happen. The eye staff seamlessly packed without me, and honestly, they did a much better job than I could have done. During my week away in Mombasa, a visitor from the USA brought out the part needed to fix the microscope, and, although 6 months late, we finally received our order of 1,000 vials of viscoelastic. Wow. So off we left for Nairobi packed into the Jolly Green Giant (perhaps her max load to date) to spend the night near the airport.
The dashed and solid yellow lines that sometimes appear down the center of the roads here in Kenya are deceitfully simple. Driving to Mombasa, I constantly ran through a complicated algorithm of factors that must be processed before attempting to pass a vehicle on the highway. My thoughts went something like this:
Hmm, that truck up there is going very slow in front of me (it could be going anywhere from 10 mph to 50 mph depending on its load and the incline of the road). The billowing black exhaust pouring from its muffler has good potential to make one of my daughters carsick if we are stuck behind this truck for a while. Can I pass the truck? Well, I do see a bus coming toward me in the other lane, but it is still quite far off, so I think I could make it around this truck if it is a school bus (which would travel at 50 mph), but not if it is a public bus (which would travel at 70 mph). It looks like a school bus. OK, now are there any potholes in the passing lane that would destroy our van’s suspension? No. Ok, are there any potholes in this lane that would cause the truck ahead to swerve into my passing lane? No. Are there any cars (which can travel at 70-90 mph) passing the bus up ahead which would make this endeavor tight, or any cars coming from behind me which would sideswipe me when I pull out? I don’t think so. Are there any motorcycles in the oncoming lane? If so, is there a shoulder present, and could the motorcycle just drive on the shoulder while I am passing? Our van is pretty loaded down. Can I accelerate fast enough to pass this truck on a mild incline? If I don’t do it now, I have to slow way down and then it will take a long time to gain momentum again. Is the road really wide enough right here to handle passing traffic? Yes. Any curves in the road to block my vision? No. Any police checks ahead, where they lay metal spikes across the road forcing only 1 vehicle to pass at a time? No. OK, it looks like we’ll try this one.
So I pull out, only to realize I forgot to look to the side of the road where there is a herd of livestock, and one cow looks like it is going to make a break for it. So I slow back down and crouch behind the lumbering truck to await my next opportunity.
All this lurching around can be quite perilous for those who get carsick.