Snake grounds jet with 370 passengers in Sydney
by Rod McGuirk, Associated Press
September 24, 2013 08:25 AM | 479 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This photo released by Australia's Department of Agriculture, shows a 20-centimeter (8-inch) Mandarin Rat Snake that was found in the passenger cabin of a Qantas Boeing 747 airliner, in Sydney, Monday, Sept. 23, 2013. The tiny exotic snake was found on the airliner late Sunday, Sept. 22 before passengers were due to board the flight bound for Tokyo from Sydney International Airport, Qantas said in a statement. (AP Photo/Department of Agriculture)
This photo released by Australia's Department of Agriculture, shows a 20-centimeter (8-inch) Mandarin Rat Snake that was found in the passenger cabin of a Qantas Boeing 747 airliner, in Sydney, Monday, Sept. 23, 2013. The tiny exotic snake was found on the airliner late Sunday, Sept. 22 before passengers were due to board the flight bound for Tokyo from Sydney International Airport, Qantas said in a statement. (AP Photo/Department of Agriculture)
slideshow
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A tiny Asian snake was found on a Qantas Boeing 747 airliner in Australia, leading to 370 passengers being grounded overnight.

Staff found the 20-centimeter (8-inch) Mandarin rat snake in the passenger cabin near the door late Sunday before passengers were due to board the flight bound for Tokyo from Sydney International Airport, Qantas said in a statement Monday.

Australia's flagship airline said passengers were given hotel rooms and left Sydney on a replacement plane Monday morning. Qantas said the original jet would be fumigated before returning to service in case there were other snakes on board.

The snake was taken by quarantine officials for analysis.

The Agriculture Department said the snake, a species that grows to an average 1.2 meters (4 feet), had been euthanized, "as exotic reptiles of this kind can harbor pests and diseases not present in Australia."

The department said the snake had arrived aboard the jet in a flight a day earlier from Singapore.

"The Department of Agriculture is looking into how the snake came to be on the plane, but isn't able to speculate at this time," it said in a statement.

The mildly venomous Asian snake was about the width of a pencil and did not pose a threat to humans, but it had the potential to cause ecological havoc in the Australian environment if it had escaped the plane with a mate, Canberra Reptile Zoo herpetologist Peter Child said.

While snakes rarely pose aviation hazards, a 3-meter (10-foot) python in January clung to the wing of a Qantas flight from northeast Australia to Papua New Guinea. The python died during the flight but was still attached to the wing when the two-hour flight ended.



Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments
(0)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides