Tags: qantas | snake | plane | japan

Qantas: Snake on Plane to Japan Grounds 370 Passengers in Australia

Image: Qantas: Snake on Plane to Japan Grounds 370 Passengers in Australia

Tuesday, 24 Sep 2013 08:05 AM

By Michael Mullins

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A Mandarin rat snake found on a Qantas plane at Sydney airport stranded hundreds of passengers bound for Japan, in Australia overnight.

The snake, an eight-inch-long Mandarin rat snake with a body width the size of a pencil, was found in the cabin of a Boeing 747 on Sunday by the flight crew prior to the plane's boarding by passengers.

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Native to Asia, the nonvenomous Mandarin rat snake posed no threat to humans and was likely just a baby, as adults have been known to grow up to 4 feet in length.

Despite its size and age, officials from Australia's Department of Agriculture captured and killed the young snake to ensure that it was not introduced to the wild where it could impact the country's native species and potentially introduce non-native pests or diseases to the local environment, the BBC reported.

It remains unclear how the reptile managed to get on the flight, which had reportedly flown in from Singapore.

As a precaution, authorities fumigated the plane in case there were other snakes onboard.

The 370 stranded passengers took a replacement flight to Tokyo Monday morning after spending the night in a Sydney hotel.

This is the second time this year a snake has turned up on a Qantas plane, the BBC noted.

A scrub python, which can exceed 20 feet in length, was discovered on the wing of a Qantas flight between the Australian city of Cairns and Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea in January.

The cold-blooded reptile, which was initially tucked into the wing of the plane, was at some point during the flight knocked loose and exposed to the 10-degree temperatures outside, the Huffington Post reported.

Unable to withstand the frigid air, the python died during the flight.

Last April, an Australian charter plane pilot had to make an emergency landing after discovering a non-venomous green tree snake in the cockpit, NBC News reported.

Also, last December, an Egypt Air flight was forced to make an emergency landing after a passenger was bitten by a snake that he had smuggled aboard.

Once on the ground, the man declined medical attention, claiming the bite was superficial.

The plane subsequently resumed its flight to Kuwait.

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Related stories:

Snakes on a Plane! Man Guilty of Smuggling Reptiles on US Flights

53 King Cobras in Car Seized in Hanoi To Protect Them, Not the Driver

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