A crocodile caused a plane to crash in the Congo after it escaped from a passenger’s bag, leading to the death of all but one on board.

The plane’s British pilot was killed, as were 19 passengers. However one person survived and has revealed that the bizarre cause of the crash was an escaped crocodile.

The man told how the croc crawled out of a large sports bag in which it was hidden. The reptile was being smuggled to be sold.

Reportedly, terrified passengers all rushed to the front of the plane to get away from the crocodile, causing the plane to nosedive and crash.

The plane came down despite no apparent mechanical problems during an internal flight from the Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, to Bandundu regional airport on August 25.

A report by news organisation Jeune Afrique said: “According to the inquiry report and the testimony of the only survivor, the crash happened because of a panic sparked by the escape of a crocodile hidden in a sports bag.

“One of the passengers had hidden the animal, which he planned to sell, in a big sports bag, from which the reptile escaped as the plane began its descent into Bandundu.

“The terrified air hostess hurried towards the cockpit, followed by the passengers.”

The crocodile lived through the crash but was later killed with a machete wielded by rescuers sifting through the wreckage.