South African pilot makes emergency landing after discovering cobra under seat

World Friday 07/April/2023 07:05 AM
South African pilot makes emergency landing after discovering cobra under seat

Cape Town : A South African pilot has to make an emergency landing after discovering an unwelcomed passenger, a highly venomous Cape cobra, according to TimesLive, a South African online newspaper.

The pilot, Rudolf Erasmus, was on his way to Nelspruit from Worcester, with few stops. On his flight, he was travelling with four passengers. Talking about his Monday flight experience, Erasmus said, "This was definitely a first and not something you get trained to handle, to be honest".

The pilot further stated that when he was in the preflight [procedure], some of the Worcester Airfield people said that they had seen a Cape cobra lying underneath the wing on Sunday afternoon.

The group opened the cowlings but the snake was not there so they assumed it had slithered away, reported TimesLive.

Erasmus said that they were on their second leg of the flight, having earlier stopped for snacks, and were headed to Wonderboom.

Just around Welkom, Erasmus said he felt something strange on his body.

"I usually travel with a water bottle that I lodge between my leg and my hip towards the side wall of the aircraft. When I felt this cold sensation where my love handles are, I thought my bottle was dripping," Erasmus said.

"As I turned to my left and looked down, I saw the cobra putting its head back underneath my seat. I had a moment of stunned silence, not sure if I should tell the passengers because I didn't want to cause a panic. But obviously, they needed to know at some point what was going on," he added.

Luckily, they were not far from Welkom so Erasmus declared an emergency with Johannesburg, TimesLive reported.

"I told them I had an unwelcomed passenger. As soon as the aircraft came to a stop, we started getting out. The three passengers in the back came out first and then the one sitting in front with me," Erasmus said.

The pilot further stated that he contacted a few people to get some snake handlers but by the time they arrived it had disappeared inside the aircraft again," Erasmus said.

He said they had engineers strip the plane trying to find the snake, to no avail.

Erasmus said they are hoping it found its way out. Meanwhile, he will be flying the plane out on Wednesday, as per the report in TimesLive.