Some 370 passengers were stranded in Australia overnight after a snake was found on a Qantas plane at Sydney airport.
The 20 cm-long (eight-inch) Mandarin rat snake was found by cabin crew in the Boeing 747 plane before passengers boarded on Sunday.This species of snake is commonly found in Asia. Adults can grow to more than 1.2m (four feet) long.
It is not clear how the snake got on the flight from Singapore, but in any event, it is harmless and poses no threat to humans.
Instead of arriving in Tokyo, as scheduled, the stranded passengers spent the night in hotels in Sydney. A replacement flight left for Tokyo on Monday morning.
A Qantas spokeswoman said that the snake, which is about the width of a pencil, was found near the doorway of the cabin,
Department of Agriculture officials took it away. Later it was destroyed to make sure it did not introduce non-native pests or diseases into the country. To be certain that any other snakes that might be on board would share the same fate, the plane would be completely fumigated.
Australia’s Agriculture Department said it “was looking into how the snake came to be on the plane, but isn’t able to speculate at this time”.
Snakes are not exactly a novelty on Quantas flights.This is the second time this year a snake was found on board one of their aircraft. In January, a scrub python was discovered on the wing of one of the airline’s planes as it flew between the Australian city of Cairns and Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea.
The python died during the flight.
At least the latest Quantas snake survived its flight; it just didn’t live long enough to tell the tale.