Snakes on a Plane: The (African) Sequel

2 minute read

Apologies for the lack of posting recently. To borrow a phrase, course work and project deadlines have been tearing me some new ones. As a reward for your patience, here's a section of email that I received from (and I quote) "the departure hut of the Lubumbashi airport nestled deep in the Congolese jungle". The author is a good friend (we were housemates during my undergrad), who has spent the last three years working on various projects in Africa. And I mean real Africa... not the sedate beaches of Cape Town or leafy suburbs of Joburg. His emails always bring home the mixture of amazement, frustration and sheer madness that characterises life on the mother continent. This story in particular deserves retelling:
So, in August last year while flying on an internal flight a small 20 seater aircraft crashed into a house a few hundred feet from its destination airport. There were no distress calls from the pilot before impact & as far as the aviation authorities were concerned the crash was caused by a ”lack of fuel”. There were only two survivors, a Congolese man and a crocodile. Just so we’re all clear, a human & A CROCODILE. After a few days of lying in a comatose state the human awoke and revealed this remarkable story. 

What had happened was one of the passengers caught this juvenile croc in Kinshasa which he wanted to sell in Bandundu but didn’t want to pay the steep transport & licensing fees that would come with sending it up legally so he decided the best thing to do was buy himself a plane ticket to Bandundu and carry the half grown crock on the plane with him in a sports bag. Unfortunately for him (and all the other passengers), this brain surgeon didn’t bind it correctly and it somehow managed to escape from the bag just moments before the plane arrived at its destination. As it jumped free from its “enclosure", the croc startled the passengers who all jumped up from their seats and ran towards the cockpit to escape the gaping jaws of this prehistoric beast. The shift in weight on the small plane caused it to nose dive, the pilot was unable to correct in time and the plane hit a house and blew up. The crocodile was later dispatched with a blow from a machete. (Poor guy didn’t even get to tell his side of the story.) Very sad but really an amazing story!
What you get if you search Google Images for "Crocodile on a Plane".

UPDATE: So I've done a bit of Googling and see that the story was covered by a number of news agencies and other sources at the time. I did not know that, Dude.

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