On a Egypt Air flight from Cairo to Kuwait this week, an Egyptian cobra reportedly bit a passenger. The incident forced the plane to make an emergency landing in the Egyptian resort town of Al Ghardaqa on the Red Sea.
According to Jordan Times, the victim, identified as Akram Abdul Latif, owns and operates a reptile shop in Kuwait. Latif had brought the snake on board and hidden the reptilian hitchhiker in his carry-on bag. The 48-year-old shop owner was bitten when the snake escaped and started slithering under the seats toward the 90 other passengers on the flight.
Adli Saad, head of the Egypt Air office in Al Ghardaqa Airport, said:
“He was bitten in his hand and after we administered first aid he insisted on taking the snake with him to Kuwait.”
However, against Latif’s wishes, authorities confiscated the cobra.
The passenger refused the doctor recommended 24 hour observation in the hospital, saying the bite wasn’t very serious. He continued on his trip when the plane resumed its flight later that day.
CNN reports that wildlife experts say that the cobra’s venom is so deadly it can kill a full-grown elephant in three hours or a person in about 15 minutes. How the venom works is that it spreads quickly through the bloodstream, destroying nerve tissue. This causes paralysis, respiratory failure, and eventually death.
The Egyptian cobra is one of the largest cobras in Africa. This species is found across North Africa and is commonly found near sources of water.