Auto - Airplanes
By: - at July 18, 2013

16 Weird Reasons Airplane Crashes Have Occurred

You've heard that it's safer to fly than it is to drive. If you're feeling nervous about a flight, you'll hear all about the things that are more likely to kill you than a plane crash. You know, the usual: driving in a car, taking a bath in the tub, choking on a taco. All of those things. But even if all those facts that people ramble off about are true, you probably aren't going to choke to death on a taco because someone threw a wedding bouquet into the plane engine or because a wild crocodile got loose from a sports bag. Airplane crashes happen for lots of reasons, and some of them are truly just weird. Here are some reasons of plane crashes that you might not expect.

16)  Crocodile on a Plane
CrocodileThe film "Snakes on a Plane" received devastating criticism and grating reviews based on its mediocrity and stupidity. Most people complained that there was no way such a thing could even happen. Of course, maybe they would have thought differently if it had been a crocodile loose on the plane. A passenger to a flight from the Democratic Republic of Congo decided to smuggle a crocodile on board. He had it in his sports bag, and no one knew it was there until it broke free. Once the crocodile did escape, it didn't take long for everyone to learn about it. The crocodile's escape triggered so much fear and panic that the plane actually crashed because all of the passengers bolted to one end of the plane. The pilot, unable to counterbalance the weight, lost control. Only one person survived with the crocodile, and he hacked it to death with a machete. The man who had smuggled the crocodile onto the plane had also been killed, and so authorities did not press charges. The main suspicion though was that the young man intended to sell the crocodile once they landed.

15)  Bridal Bouquet in the Plane Engine
Bridal Plane CrashOne newly married couple decided to give their guests the thrill of a lifetime. The plan all started out very romantically at first as this was an Italian wedding, and it sought to be everything an Italian wedding should be. The bride's father rented a small airplane for the happy couple. The bride and groom then got inside with dear dad flying, and they went on a trick airplane flight. The flight took them all over the reception area and then back again. During the course of this flight, the bride and groom got another brilliant idea. Why not throw the bridal bouquet out while flying? That way, one of the single ladies could catch it as it floated down in a cloud of tulle and lace. No one came up with any objections. The single ladies all lined up after some shouted commands of instruction and requests for cooperation. Then the father brought the plane down for a pass, and the bride threw the bridal bouquet out. Instead of flying down to the singles, the bridal bouquet got sucked into the plane engine. It immediately shredded the bouquet, caught on fire, and exploded. The father lost control of the plane, and they crashed into a nearby hotel. Amazingly, no one was killed or even injured. However, throwing bridal bouquets out of planes is now illegal in Italy.

14)  Children Flying the Plane
Depending on the country, some kids fly planes regularly or can learn at a fairly young age. Even in the United States, Alaska has some of the lowest flight requirements though children must pass certain skill examinations before they are allowed to start shuttling goods back and forth from Juno to home. Some pilots came up with the idea that the best way to train kids to fly planes was to let them think they were in control when they weren't. On a flight from Moscow to Hong Kong, the pilot brought his own kids into the cockpit and set them down at the controls. To prevent any accidents from happening, he then put the controls on autopilot. All seemed to be going well. The kids were having fun, and dad wasn't too concerned. But then one of the children panicked and jerked the steering column so sharply that the autopilot disengaged. The sharpness of this movement sent the plane into a sharp bank and started to stall. Even though the pilot did all he could, the plane crashed. Tragically, everyone on board perished in the crash.

Children Plane Crash

13)  Joining the Mile High Club…
Mile High Club CrashThe Mile High Club has caused more than its share of disturbances on planes, but most of the time, it's between passengers or sometimes passenger and flight attendants. The pilot and co-pilot getting it on is pretty unusual. A pilot and co-pilot decided to commemorate their flight by joining the Mile High Club. The two were flying out over Florida. Then, all at once, the mood struck. They pushed down the co-pilot's seat, and both somehow managed to strip off all their clothes while remaining in the cockpit. They then proceeded to get busy with it, and the plane suddenly spun out of control. Even their clothing flew out of the plane. Both died on impact sadly. The accident report itself does not mention that the two were having sex. It finds other ways to include all of the details such as the fact that the two were naked at the time of the crash, neither were wearing seat belts, and that it occurred because the attention was not on the flight. Needless to say, this kind of conduct is prohibited in most states if it involves the pilot and co-pilot.

12)  Practical Joke Gone Wrong
Not all practical jokes turn out the way they are intended, and that appears to be almost a guarantee when you're dealing with a pilot's attempt to prank the co-pilot while flying. On this particular passenger flight, the pilot and jump seat captain decided to engage the gust lock to give the co-pilot a good scare. The co-pilot panicked once he realized that he couldn't get the plane to respond as it should. He started overcompensating and trying to force it. The captain then decided that now was the perfect time to reveal his delightful joke, and he released the gust lock. The co-pilot's overcompensation sent the plane into an inverted roll. All might have resolved itself if not for the fact that neither the pilot nor the jump seat captain were wearing their seat belts. Both fell from their seats, and in so doing, they started kicking the controls. Somehow though, the co-pilot managed to feather the engines. This allowed enough time for him to pull the plane out of the dive with less than 350 feet to go. No one died, but both the pilot and the jump seat captain lost their jobs with formal reprimands for their conduct.

Plane Pilots Joking Around

11)  Carbon Dioxide Leak
fire extinguisher and planeOver the years, Fox News, CBS, and MSN have run various stories about plane crashes that have been related to things like gas leaks and the like. The plane crews check very thoroughly for these leaks. What they don't tell the public generally is what all they look for. Back in 1948, most people assumed that the primary threat in a chemical leak was fuel or oil. They discovered this error in a shocking way on a flight over Pennsylvania. The fire extinguishers, intended of course to resolve problems, started to leak. They suspect that the fire extinguishers may have been releasing in response to a small fire such as one caused by a lit cigarette. In addition to this, carbon dioxide was released as well, but they did not stop. They kept filling the passenger cabin. As the pilots brought the plane down for an emergency landing, a structural defect let the carbon dioxide leak into the cabin. By this time, it had reached such high levels that the pilot and co-pilot were overcome. The plane crashed, and everyone on board died. All fire extinguishers and carbon dioxide release mechanisms are now closely inspected for any signs of flaws or damage.

10)  Spousal Elimination
Most murderous people try to murder their spouses in inconspicuous ways. They attempt to make maters look like an accident so that the police don't get suspicious. Most murderers try to make it look like an accident or as if another felon was involved if they can't come up with a murder that looks like it came about from natural causes. Albert Guay, a jeweler, did not think about this at all. All he wanted to do was kill his wife. So he came up with a plan to plant a homemade dynamite bomb in the plane. His accomplice and lover, Marguerite Pitre, got the bomb. And her brother, a clockmaker, prepared the device. They all intended to split the insurance money, a policy that would cash out at about $10,000. Sadly, the plan was successful. The plane completely disintegrated while in flight. All 23 passengers and personnel perished. However, the police quickly caught up with Guay and his accomplices. They were tried and found guilty, and then they were hanged..

Horrible Plane Crash

9)  Fear of Snowstorm
It's understandable that a pilot would be uneasy when flying a plane during a storm. The pilot at the La Guardia Airport in New York had been under a lot of stress that day. When a freak snowstorm hit, he tried to keep the plane going. However, the winds and the fear of the snow caused the pilot to start to panic. When trying to bank, he rolled the plane too sharply. The island the plane landed on was Rikers Island, an island that housed the Rikers Island Prison. When the inmates saw what had happened, they rushed to help. Many of them assisted in saving everyone on board the plane and getting them to shelter. Their heroic acts led to some of them being pardoned, while others received reduced sentences.

Plane in a snowstorm

8)  Birds

Pack of Swans:

There have been many occurrences in which birds have caused airplanes to crash or damaged them in some way. The majority of plane crashes involving birds tend to occur on takeoff as the plane is at a much lower altitude. A single bird, whether a duck, goose or a starling, is not as big of a problem when it only strikes one engine. However, when multiple birds strike or when the plane goes into a flock of birds, then problems start to arise. One of the first bizarre reported bird related plane crashes took place in 1960. The pilot took off when a large flock of starlings suddenly swerved into the plane. They had not been flying toward the plane before this, and the pilot had no opportunity to move the plane out of the way. The birds destroyed three of the four engines, and the pilot lost control of the aircraft. PlaneCrashInfo lists 62 as having died from the 72 on board.

Another shocking event in which birds destroyed planes involved an attack of swans. The swans flew into the plane at night. One very large swan struck the tail stabilizer. A structural flaw caused stress throughout the plane and weakened the entire structure. As a result, parts of the plane started to detach. The pilot lost control seconds later.

The Federal Aviation Administration states that in most cases, birds do not cause the planes to go down. However, since the year 2000, more than 500 planes have been damaged. Additionally, the National Transportation Safety Board have started taking measures to reduce the risk by netting and cordoning off sections of the airport and actively preventing birds from flying in the area. Time will tell if that will help to eliminate some of these accidents.

7)  Poor Aim
Airplane AttackIn some parts of the world, big game hunters hunt their prey while in helicopters or planes. Not only does this look intimidating, but it saves the hunters a great deal of foot time and allows them a greater view. According to "Hunting Bloopers," two cowboys in Montana decided to try it out for themselves. Their intended target was the ever elusive and wily coyote. To save themselves time, they rented an airplane and took it out hunting. All seemed to be going well until one of the hunters aimed for the coyote and took his shot. Somehow though, he managed to miss the coyote and hit the wing of the plane. The plane barreled out of control and crashed. Amazingly though, both of the hunters survived. The coyote, smirking all the way home, also managed to avoid all further attempts to catch it.

6)  Forgetful or Intentional
Airplane PilotOne of the last things you want to find out about is that the pilot has forgotten how to fly the plane. This sometimes happens for no apparent reason. On this particular flight, the pilot started to take off. Everything seemed to be going fine during the takeoff. Then the pilot did not pull up. He just veered off the runway and into a doghouse. The plane crashed into a small pond. The accident report found nothing wrong with the plane or the flight system. The pilot himself just blanked out. Aside from minor scrapes and bruises, no one was hurt. Though sufficient time passed that they were unable to ascertain the truth, officials suspected that drugs or alcohol might have been involved. Complete lapses in memory rarely occur without reason.

The only thing worse than the pilot just forgetting though is when the pilot believes he's acting on orders from gods or aliens. One pilot was reported for drinking and doing drugs before going up on the flight. By the time this word got in though, he had already taken off. This was before mandatory drug tests and breathalyzers were administered at random to avoid this kind of activity. Though the pilot seemed to try to crash the plane, no one was injured as he shockingly failed at the task. The police managed to arrest him and take him into custody though he became quite violent and assaulted the officers. But while they were interviewing him, he insisted that he was told to crash the plane. He alternated between claiming that God had told him to do it as well as aliens having something to do with it. The police suspected that it was the drugs he had been taking that was doing the talking. The pilot insisted throughout the course of the interview that it was just his time to go and he wasn't going to fight it. But in a twist of added mystery, he claimed that the aliens had also given him a briefcase stuffed with money. To keep it safe, he said he taped it inside the window of the plane. The police found the tape, but it was on the outside, and there was no briefcase full of money.

5)  Dogs
It wouldn't seem like dogs would be a big problem when it comes to plane crashes. After all, they don't fly, and they certainly can't jump that high. However, they have been the cause of more than one plane crash over the years. One dog loving pilot just couldn't bear to run over a dog as it sat in the runway in front of the plane. The pilot swerved to the side as the dog sat there, staring at it. The plane skidded off into a ditch, stripping off its propeller and landing gear. Fortunately though, no one was hurt.

Dog sitting on a runway, causing an airplane crash

Swerving to miss a dog on the runway is misguided but at least admirable. Deciding to have your dog be your co-pilot is ludicrous. One pilot decided that he just couldn't fly without his best friend. He put the dog in the back seat and set everything up for takeoff. He did not, however, strap down the dog or confine it in any way. The takeoff itself was quite rough, jostling the plane. Somehow, the cabin door came open. The dog panicked and lunged out. The pilot panicked and cut the engines while trying to grab his dog. The dog hit the ground and managed to get out of the way. The plane, on the other hand, kept going. It crashed into a boggy ditch. Fortunately, the pilot managed to get out. Both he and his dog were reunited, and neither one was seriously injured.

4)  Bees on the Plane
Bees on an AirplaneIf "Crocodile on the Plane" is the sequel to "Snakes on the Plane," then "Bees on the Plane" should be the third installment of this series. This particular plane crash took place with a flight instructor. He and his student, nervous with anticipation, prepared for the flight just as they had before. The flight instructor started the plane up and began to taxi down the runway. They went up into the air and started going through maneuvers. All at once, the plane started to buck, then it swerved, and then it crashed. Both the pilot and student survived, but they were covered in bee stings. Apparently, wasps had built a nest under the pilot's seat. They were most unhappy about being taken for a ride. To make matters worse though, bees had built their own nest back in the tail. They were even more angry about going for a flight, and they were further agitated by the wasps. The pilot was allergic to bee stings. Both he and the student survived, but people still wonder how it is that wasps and bees could build nests in the plane without anyone noticing.

3)  Real Snakes on the Plane
It just wouldn't be a real list of bizarre plane crashes without including the real snakes on the plane story. This particular story began in 1991 in South Carolina. The pilot was out on an aerial observation mission. Everything seemed to be going normally until the pilot got cold and turned on the heat. Then he heard something hissing. Looking down, he saw copperheads. One came out of the vent at his feet and poised itself to strike. The pilot started trying to stomp on the snakes while avoiding being bitten. In doing this, he lost control of the aircraft. It spiraled out of control and destroyed some trees. The pilot himself suffered serious injuries but no snake bites. When the investigation of the plane concluded though, no evidence of snakes were found in the heating vents or in the plane. The pilot did not test positive for drugs or alcohol either.

2)  Misdirected Laser Beams
According to the Las Vegas Air Traffic Control, a number of plane crashes have resulted from misdirected laser beams. The worst kinds are the disco dance lasers that spiral out on the roofs or in laser light shows. One of the first incidences involving this took place in Las Vegas McCarran International Airport. The pilot was flying along without any problems when a red laser swept in and blinded him. The total blindness lasted for minutes. The captain managed to seize control and get the plane down with minor damage. When the investigation began, the officials could not tell who was responsible for it. Three different hotels and resorts had been hosting disco light shows and laser light performances. Any one of them could have been the culprit, and none of them claimed to be responsible. The Las Vegas Air Traffic Control states that approximately 20 – 25 accidents occur related to lasers and blindness every year. Certain kinds of shows have been banned because of the risk.

Laser Beams at night

1)  Narcolepsy
Narcolepsy and flyingThese days, it's illegal for pilots to fly commercial flights when they struggle with disorders like narcolepsy. But, apparently there's nothing to keep you from doing it on your own. One pilot while out on his own took off from Kentucky. The pilot soon fell asleep accidentally. When he woke up again, he was over the Gulf of Mexico with less than 20 minutes of fuel. Declaring mayday, he had to get assistance from both the Coast Guard and Air Force. The engines quit on the way there because he ran out of gas. The Coast Guard then came in to rescue him. The pilot managed to survive without any problems, but he did lose his pilot's license.





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