Croc On A Plane: Reptile ‘May Have Caused Crash’

An escaped crocodile may have caused a plane crash which killed a British pilot and 18 others, an inquest has heard.

Chris Wilson died when the jet he was co-piloting plunged to the ground during a routine flight across the Congo in August 2010.

No cause for the crash has ever been established but an inquest was told a crocodile may have sparked a stampede by roaming around the aisles moments before the aircraft came down.

It is thought the plane, which was travelling from Kinshasa to Bandundu, may have nosedived as passengers and crew members ran from the reptile.

Assistant Coroner David Dooley said it was “apparently quite normal” for animals to be carried on the plane, adding: “It was used like a taxi in this regard.”

“There is apparently a video of the crocodile being taken out of the plane,”he told the hearing at Gloucester Coroner’s Court.

“(Investigators) think it may have frightened the cabin crew member and she ran forward, with the other passengers following.

“The weight shift caused by the panic may have affected the plane, causing it to nosedive or stall.”

Mr Wilson moved to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2010 after giving up his job as a cabin crew member to follow his dream of becoming a commercial pilot.

The 39-year-old worked for local company Filair but is said to have become increasingly concerned about the flying ability of co-pilot Danny Philemotte, who owned the firm.

In a statement read to the court, his brother, Martin, said: “Every time he flew with Mr Philemotte, there was always one incident or another.

“He said he didn’t want to fly with him anymore.

“He said if it wasn’t for the fact they could see where they were going, they wouldn’t ever get anywhere because Mr Philemotte couldn’t read the instruments.

“He said he didn’t know how Mr Philemotte was still alive (because) his flying was so bad.”

Timothy Atkinson, an air accident investigator, said he had reviewed evidence from the Congolese authorities but was unable to draw any definitive conclusions because they were not given the plane’s black box data recorder.

“There is no evidence suggesting an engine failure or a nose dive, although I cannot be sure without looking at the plane,” he told the court.

“The accident appears to have the hallmarks of a stall and spin, which may have been from a variety of causes.

“Essentially, it fell out of the sky.”

Mr Dooley recorded an open conclusion, saying a lack of witnesses and data from the black box “have only resulted in vague guesses as to what happened”.

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Source: orange.co.uk
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4 responses to “Croc On A Plane: Reptile ‘May Have Caused Crash’”

  1. Christian Philemotte says:

    Avant d’aborder le chapitre des BOITES NOIRES et pour en finir avec le volet concernant les capacités du Cdt D. Philemotte à piloter son Let 410 9Q-CCN, voici ci-après encore quelques extraits de citations émanant notamment de pilotes professionnels à Kinshasa :

    *** Premier témoignage

    « Il est surprenant, connaissant le professionnalisme et la rigueur du commandant, que pareille chose puisse arrivé … »
    Source: procès-verbal ‘non officiel’ du 29.08.2010 15:56.

    26 sept. 2010 10:04 AM
    « Je n’ai jamais fais un rapport et transmis quoi que ce soit sur le net. J’ai transmis aux membre de notre comité mes constatations sur place. Ceci dans le but de dédouaner Dany de toutes fautes professionnelles. Je connaissais sa rigueur dans l’exercice de notre métier.
    Laisser maintenant le soin aux experts pour analyser cet accident et de déterminer les causes exactes.
    Mes suggestions pris sur le vif ne sont que des suppositions, et n’ont donc aucune forme de témoignage. »

    Le 23/24 octobre 2010, c’est cette même personne, ( ami depuis 30 ans de mon frère « … il est souvent venu demander conseil car la diplomatie n’étais pas son for » ) qui s’autoproclamera « chargée de l’enquête » du crash en question par les autorités Congolaises ( source : Het Laatste Nieuws “Vliegtuig crashte door krokodil” ) et qui sera à la base de tous les articles au sujet d’un croco en cabine comme étant la “cause” du crash du Let Filair sans y apporter pour autant la moindre preuve rationnelle !

    *** Deuxième témoignage

    Fin septembre 2010
    ” … Il est difficile de dire exactement ce qu’il y a eu, connaissant l’expérience du commandant étant instructeur, il est difficile qu’il arrive à décrocher l’A/C surtout qu’il était en final de son approche à quelques trois minutes d’atterrissage ” .

    Source: rapport pilote Filair

    *** Troisième témoignage

    26 septembre 2010 11:31AM
    « Nous connaissions le professionnalisme de Dany, et les médisances avancées
    dans tous les milieux étaient insupportables. »

    *** Quatrième témoignage

    12 octobre 2010
    « With Christopher being my twin brother, I understand the loss you are feeling. I am devastated that they have lost their lives. Chris was so full of life, and was really enjoying working for your brother. He had great respect for him.
    Like you I don’t trust the people doing the investigation.
    I hope that some day, the pain of losing our brothers will be replaced with warmth of their great lives and admiration for what they did.
    God Bless. »
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Christian Philemotte, frère cadet du défunt Captain D.Philemotte

  2. Christian Philemotte says:

    The testimonial (mentioned in a previous comment) that was published in the newspapers “Le Soir” and “Le Figaro” was personally sent to the Wilson family on September 26, 2010. Why then does Martin Wilson wait for about 4 years before questioning the abilities of the Captain D. Philemotte?

  3. Christian Philemotte says:

    To reinforce what I said earlier about this post, here is an interesting testimonial (that has been published on the websites of the French journals: ” Le Figaro” and ” Le Monde”) which dates back from Sept, 6 2010.
    Other testimonials exist as well, all written and sent to me very rapidly as the last one dates back from October 12, 2010.
    Below, you will find first the original text in French followed by its translation in English.

    Pour corroborer mes dires, un témoignage pertinent (mis en
    ligne sur Le Figaro et Le Soir) qui date du 6 sept. 2010 .

    Il en existe d’autres bien évidemment, tous écrits et
    qui m’ont été adressés très rapidement dont le dernier remonte au 12 octobre
    2010 !!!

    ————————————

    ” I knew the Captain Philemotte, his copilot and his hostess since I made, in June of 2010, with the plane that crashed, the LET 410, 19 take-offs and landings over a period of 23 consecutive days. This trip occured over the whole terittory of the RDC including Bandundu. Therefore I can and I want to testify of the great quality and of the high level of responsibility that characterised all piloting operations of the Captain and his copilot, before, during and after the flight. Not only, as he said, he did not have any crash in 40 years as a pilot but also he was able to read the RDC from the sky with impressing ease and knowledge. Mostly, he was also obsessed with security, fiability and conformity to the rules: also he was extremely and continuously rigorous with all security matters. The passengers, among which some of our group of 12 were totally freaked about boarding an airplane, were grateful about these qualities of his and thanked him and congratulated him warmly at the end of their journey. The hypothesis that the crash could have been caused by a lack of fuel seems totally impossible to me; effectively, the Captain Dany Philemotte was always obsessed about having sufficient quantities of fuel in his aircraft’s tanks. An example of that is when he threatened us not to go to one of the sites we were supposed to visit because no fuel was available there unless the MONUC formally authorised them beforehand to buy fuel. As of today, I am sad and all my thoughts go to his family and the families of the other victims.”
    ————————————

    “Je connaissais le Commandant
    Philemotte, son copilote et son hôtesse puisque j’ai effectué, en juin 2010, avec l’avion crashé,
    le let-410, 19 décollages et atterrissages pendant 23 jours consécutifs, sur
    l’ensemble du territoire de la RDC (dont Bandundu). Je peux et veux témoigner
    de la grande qualité et du haut niveau de responsabilité qui
    accompagnaient tous les actes de pilotage (amont, pendant et aval) du Ct
    Philemotte et de son co-pilote. Non seulement, comme il le disait, en 40
    ans de pilotage, il n’avait jamais eu un seul accidant mais aussi, il “lisait”
    la RDC du ciel avec une aisance et une connaissance impressionnantes et,
    surtout, il était obsédé par la sécurité, la fiabilité, la
    conformité aux règles, une rigueur extrême et plurielle dont ses passagers
    (y compris ceux qui dans notre groupe de 12 étaient totalement paniqués
    par l’avion) lui ont été reconnaissants et tous l’ont chaleureusement félicité
    et remercié à la fin du périple. La cause présumée “panne sèche” me parait par
    ailleurs vraiment impossible : le carburant en quantité suffisante était l’une
    des obsessions du Ct Philemotte, il nous avait d’ailleurs menacé de ne pas aller
    sur l’un des sites que nous devions visiter (où aucun carburant n’était
    disponible) si l’on n’obtenait pas de la MONUC, en amont, un accord formel pour
    l’achat de carburant. Je suis aujourd’hui très triste et mes pensées vont à sa
    famille et aux familles de tous les disparus.”

    C.Philemotte, frère du défunt Captain D.Philemotte, patron Cie FILAIR

  4. Christian Philemotte says:

    As Dany Philemotte’s brother I would like to react on what has been said in this article. In my opinion, some precisions have to be brought.

    First of all, regarding the video that would show a crocodile escaping or being taken out of the airplane. The existence of this video has never been proven. Also, this crocodile was not mentioned in any way in the report that was made by one of the first persons that arrive on the location of the crash on the day of the crash. So, if anyone has got any sort of proof confirming the “crocodile hypothesis”, I would be very interested in seeing it.

    Secondly, as far as the flying abilities of Dany Philemotte are concerned, I beg to differ to what has been said earlier. Effectively, his abilities have been confirmed and praised by fellow pilots. Also, I think we must agree on the fact that it would be hard to successfully keep an airline up and running (without any major incident) for more than 25 years if the lead pilot doesn’t know how to handle an airplane.

    Finally, it is also worth mentioning that a trail has not been explored in the article above. Effectively, at different occasions, my brother shared with me his concerns about the threats from the competition he was the victim of. Also, if my brother was such a bad pilot, why did not Christopher leave the company way earlier ? From another trustworthy source it appears that Christopher was very satisfied with his first months of employment at Filair and had a great deal of respect for the Captain Dany Philemotte.

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