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20 die in air disaster after smuggled crocodile escapes on a plane

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crocodileWildlife smugglers will do just about anything for a quick buck, including sneaking a live predator onto an airplane with no regard for the risk to the animal or fellow passengers. This illegal activity reached a devastating and absurdist extreme recently when a man reportedly smuggled a live crocodile onto a plane departing from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The crocodile got loose, the crew and passengers panicked, and the plane crashed, killing 20 people.

Oddly enough, the crocodile survived the crash, only to be hacked to death by machete-wielding locals on the ground.

Only one passenger lived to bear witness to the events. The unnamed survivor was interviewed by the France-based African news magazine Jeune Afrique, where he said the crocodile was smuggled onto the plane in a sports bag. When the croc escaped, the passengers reportedly rushed toward the cockpit, throwing the plane off balance, the man claimed.

The magazine also reported the crocodile had been intended for resale, although how the crash survivor knew this remains unclear. The incident occurred August 25, but initial reports said the plane had simply run out of fuel.

ITN News has video of the crash site on YouTube.

None of the reports identify the species of crocodile, but the DRC is home to the rare subspecies known as the Congo, or Osborn’s, dwarf crocodile (Osteolaemus tetraspis osborni).

Photo by Sias van Schalkwyk via Stock.xchng

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  1. 1. dbtinc 4:42 pm 10/25/2010

    Eligible for the Darwin Awards Posthumusly?

    Link to this
  2. 2. floridahank 5:33 pm 10/25/2010

    Man’s stupidy never fails to amaze me. I guess it’s
    time to make a movie about this –Hollywood is always
    looking for new stories.

    Link to this
  3. 3. floridahank 5:33 pm 10/25/2010

    Man’s stupidy never fails to amaze me. I guess it’s
    time to make a movie about this –Hollywood is always
    looking for new stories.

    Link to this
  4. 4. theburr 5:34 pm 10/25/2010

    So who’s on the extinction countdown, the crocs or us?

    Link to this
  5. 5. candide 6:28 pm 10/25/2010

    Is there science somewhere in this article?

    Link to this
  6. 6. Happy Phil 8:34 pm 10/25/2010

    This is an interesting study of human behavior. Guy catches croc, smuggles it aboard plane, croc gets out of bag, humans panic, plane crashes, croc survives, angry people chop up croc instead of the smuggler. Amazing.

    Link to this
  7. 7. way2ec 1:41 am 10/26/2010

    Yes, candide, smuggling wildlife, especially rare and or endangered wildlife is a part of the world of science, as is the invasion of non-native species. And even if you were to pooh-pooh that as not "scientific enough", to answer your sarcasm in a different way, where is the science?
    Osteolaemus tetraspis osborni in the DRC.

    Link to this
  8. 8. Scrabbled 3:55 am 10/26/2010

    Crocodiles on a Plane.

    We’ll make millions.

    Link to this
  9. 9. JamesDavis 7:49 am 10/26/2010

    Yes, Scrabbled, said Hollywood as they handed the smuggler $50.00 and a plain ticket.

    Link to this
  10. 10. Hedwig 10:37 pm 10/27/2010

    The same as from people anywhere else. Like my brother, an American citizen, who many years ago got on a plane in California with a sack full of baby constrictors (can’t remember now if they were boas or pythons). The little critters nudged the sack open. A passenger sitting in front of my brother called a flight attendant to complain that there was a snake on his seat. My brother leaned forward to ask if it was a boa (or python). The attendants helped keep everybody cool, the snakes were all rounded up and accounted for, and my brother received an escort when he exited the plane, and was disinvited from ever using that airline again… Point is, people are people.

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  11. 11. Hedwig 10:39 pm 10/27/2010

    Sorry, the above comment was intended to respond to tomyerian.

    Link to this
  12. 12. ennui 11:40 pm 10/27/2010

    The crocodile was intended for re-sale. How the surviving passenger knew this is a mystery. Well, what else could it have been used for?

    Link to this
  13. 13. ulcnetwork 8:43 am 10/29/2010

    Let us please remember the victims folks, take a moment and say a prayer.

    ~ Brother Michael
    <a href="">Universal Life Church</A>

    Link to this
  14. 14. ulcnetwork 8:43 am 10/29/2010

    Link to this

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