A three meter long python hitched a ride on the wing of a Qantas plane headed for Papua New Guinea. The snake, which had wrapped itself around the wing, was discovered about 20 minutes into the flight.
University of Sydney snake expert Rick Shine stated that the snake was actually a “scrub python.” The snakes, which are quite common in north Queensland are Australia’s longest snake. They are also known to contort themselves into tight spaces.
Passenger Robert Weber discussed the incident with 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 onto the aircraft. There was no panic. At no time did anyone stop to consider that there might be others on board.”
”I felt quite sad for it, really. For the remainder of the flight, he was trying to pull himself back into the plane, even though he was fighting against 400km/h winds. The cabin crew told us that at cruising altitude, it was minus 12 degrees outside – but not even that was able to finish him.”
The pilots were amazed that the snake continued to survive throughout the flight. Passengers claim that when the plane landed the resilient snake was still moving around.
This is not the first time Qantas has had a snake on a plane. In 2009 four escaped pythons wrecked havoc on a flight to Melbourne. The snakes were traveling inside what was described as an “appropriate” container. Thankfully only four of the 12 snakes in the container managed to escape and hide between the passengers’ luggage. According to The Telegraph the snakes, which were not an endangered species, were eventually killed. The plane was fumigated and returned to service when the snakes were removed.
The final status of the snake spotted on the wing of the recent Qantas flight is unknown. A spokesman says that as far as they know they have never had a similar incident on any of their planes.
Passenger Robert Weber captured a video of the snake’s flight: