Sunday, October 24, 2010

Death by Crocodile

"See you later, alligator. After a while, crocodile."
- Bill Haley

There are many odd ways to die. Being killed by a crocodile is unusual. Dieing in a plane crash is actually quite rare. (You are over 2000 times more likely to die in a car crash). Now combine the two, killed by a crocodile on an airplane, and you have a type of death that may be unique.

In August a small plane crashed in the Democratic Republic of Congo killing 21 people aboard. It was obvious that the crash was caused by a loss of balance in the small aircraft while landing. Why unbalanced? The passengers where stampeding into the cockpit. Why the stampede? That was not so obvious until the lone survivor explained what happened.

A crocodile had escaped from a duffel bag that a passenger was smuggling it in. The terrified passengers and crew were trying to get away from the crocodile. (I wonder how big it was? I suppose even small crocs have big teeth.)  Ironically the croc survived the crash (but was killed afterwards.)

Bottom Line

Sometimes our response to a threat is more dangerous than the threat itself. Long ago I was driving the family car with my mother on board when a bee flew in the window. I started to panic and was watching the bee. My mother admonished me to keep my eyes on the road. A car crash would be far worse than a bee sting.

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