With the new trend of emotional support animals and just animals flying in the main cabin on planes, I always wonder/am slightly afraid of what I may end up sitting next to. I love dogs, but I’m not sure I want one sitting next to me on a flight. And I certainly don’t want to end up next to a more exotic animal like a peacock or who knows what else. But any animal verified by the airline would be better than this situation I’m about to tell you about. A pilot on a flight in South Africa discovered an uninvited guest on the plane- a highly venomous snake. That’s right the pilot was on a flight with four passengers when he felt something on his back he told the Associated Press. He looked and saw the head of the snake a Cape Cobra underneath the plane’s seat.
According to Cape Snake Conservation, the Cape Cobra is “medium-sized” with a max length of 71 inches. That’s large in my snake-hating mind. They are common in South Africa and yes they are highly venomous. Cape Snake Conservation says the mortality rate isn’t known. But medical attention is required if bitten. So the pilot sees the snake, what happens next? No way he continues that flight right?
Landing The Plane With A Snake Onboard
Right. After he informed his passengers of the stowaway (that’s one conversation I wouldn’t want to have or hear), he communicated with air traffic control. NCEN reports that the pilot was able to land in a small South African town. Unfortunately, that town was about 10-15 minutes away. So they had to fly on the plane with the uninvited snake passenger. That makes my skin crawl just thinking about it. (I’m on the third floor of a building in North Carolina and I’ve looked down at my feet 3 times in fear).
Emergency responders and snake handlers met the plane at the airport and searched it for 2 days. Only to never find the snake. They theorize it must have escaped while being searched. The passengers found another ride to their destination, however, the pilot, well he had to fly his plane back home knowing that Cape Cobra could still be on board. Yeah no matter how much that plane cost I think I’d take the loss. Insurance has to cover that right?
The moral of this story is, I’ll be thankful if the only animals I encounter in mid-air are dogs or even the peacock.