British pilot died in plane crash 'caused by escaped crocodile'

Chris Wilson and 18 others were killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo crash

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A plane crash that killed a British pilot in the Democratic Republic of Congo was caused by a two-foot crocodile that escaped on board, an inquest heard on Friday.

A coroner's court heard that Chris Wilson, 49, died along with 18 others when the Let-410 he was flying plunged to the ground.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the only survivor claims panicked passengers stampeded towards the cockpit on the small plane after the crocodile escaped.

Belgian pilot, Danny Philemotte, 62, was also killed.

The inquest in Gloucester was told how a passenger had brought the crocodile onto the flight in a sports bag.

The Daily Record reports that assistant coroner David Dooley read out an email from Wilson's father Rob to officials in Congo.

"Rob Wilson said he had spoken to the original investigator on the site who said that there was a gentleman who came up with a story about a crocodile," Dooley said.

"There is apparently a video of the crocodile being taken out of the plane.

"They 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 nose dive or stall."

The inquest heard that it was common for animals to be brought onto planes for them to be "used like a taxi in this regard".

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