They're calling it the “Qantas snake,” and it was responsible for grounding a huge Boeing 747 airliner, leading to 370 passengers having to spend an extra night in Sydney, says the AFP via Yahoo! News on Sept. 23. Samuel Jackson may have played a role in the movie “Snakes on a Plane,” but this real life Mandarin Rat snake was the star in this actual incident of a reptile freaking passengers out.
The 8-inch snake was found in the passenger cabin of a Qantas Boeing 747 airliner late Sunday, causing the jet, which was bound for Tokyo, to stay an extra night on the ground in Australia as it was fumigated.
The airline said passengers were given hotel rooms for the night and were boarded onto a replacement plane Monday morning. Airline officials said the mildly venomous Asian snake was “quarantined for analysis.” The snake was later killed.
Officials think the snake came from Singapore, where the jet had been in the days prior, and got a free 4,000-mile ticket to Sydney, only to have the Agriculture Department euthanize the snake.
Mandarin Rat snakes can grow to an average of 4 feet. It was killed because “exotic reptiles of this kind can harbor pests and diseases not present in Australia,” the Department of Agriculture said in a statement.
Flying is generally thought to be pretty safe. But for those who suffer from aerophobia – a fear of flying – they may also now have to contend with Ophidiophobia – the abnormal fear of snakes.