Pilots and flight attendants with a snake phobia may not relish the idea of a 10 ft python attaching itself to an aircraft for an entire journey. But this is what happened recently on a Qantas flight. The ‘snake on a plane’ has now captured the global media’s attention, and may make uncomfortable reading for some crew members.
Several people videoed the incident on their phones.
A 10ft (3m) scrub python fought to retain its grip on the wing as a passenger jet made its way between the Australian town of Cairns and Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. Quite amazingly the plucky python held on the whole 1hr 50 min flight.
But on arrival in Port Moresby, ground crew found the snake had died.
Passengers first became aware of the reptile 20 minutes after take-off. A woman pointed out the python to fellow passengers and cabin crew. One passenger told a local TV channel that: “The two cabin crew ladies on board were very surprised at how this thing clung on for so long.”
At first only its head was visible, but as it tried to manoeuvre itself back to safety, its whole body was exposed. It repeatedly attempted to pull itself back into the shelter of the wing, but the wind was relentless.
It’s estimated that the wind speed outside the plane was 250mph (400km/h) and the temperature -12C. The snake’s body was hammered against the engine, leaving blood stains on the white paint.
One passenger, Robert Weber, a website designer in Cairns, told the Sydney Morning Herald: ”The people at the front were oblivious to what was going on but the passengers at the back were all totally focused on the snake and how it might have got on to the aircraft.
”There was no panic. At no time did anyone stop to consider that there might be others on board.”
The president of the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association, Paul Cousins, said: ”It appears as though the snake has initially crawled up inside the landing bay, maybe housed himself in there, and then crawled into the trailing ledge flap assembly.”
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