cobra snake

Cobra Snake in Cockpit

A pilot in South Africa made an emergency landing after seeing a highly venomous cobra in the cockpit midair.

“As I turned to my left and looked down, I saw the cobra putting its head back underneath my seat,” pilot Rudolf Erasmus told The Times live news website.

Erasmus was flying with four passengers from Worcester in the Western Cape Province to Nelspruit in the Mpumalanga province on Monday.

He said when he saw the snake he had a moment of stunned silence, not sure if he should tell the passengers because he did not want to cause panic.

“But obviously they needed to know at some point what was going on.” he said, adding “I just said, ‘listen, there’s a problem. There is a snake inside the aircraft. I’ve got a feeling it’s under my seat so we are going to have to get the plane on the ground as soon as possible.”

The pilot then alerted the control room in Johannesburg as he approached the town of Welkom where he made an emergency landing.

Erasmus said as soon as the aircraft landed, passengers got out and as he rolled his seat forward, he saw the snake curled underneath the seat.

“We contacted a few people around trying to get some snake handlers but by the time they arrived it had disappeared inside the aircraft again,” he said.

Erasmus said engineers stripped the plane in search of the snake, to no avail. He hopes the serpent found its way out.

Incidents of snakes sneaking into planes hardly ever happen, according to Brian Emmenis, an aviation specialist, who described the pilot as a “hero.” (AA)

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