After dogs on runway, a snake inside plane | delhi | Hindustan Times
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After dogs on runway, a snake inside plane

An Air India flight to Mumbai was grounded at the airport after the crew spotted an unexpected guest on board — a cobra. Sidhartha Roy reports.

delhi Updated: Sep 04, 2008 00:47 IST

An Air India flight to Mumbai was grounded at the airport on Monday after the crew spotted an unexpected guest on board — a cobra.

Though there have been instances of reptiles moving around the airport, this is for the first time a snake has managed to sneak into an aircraft.

The snake was found inside a domestic aircraft (Airbus A319) that had arrived from Srinagar (IC-822) and was at parking bay number 150. Around 9.30 pm, airline staff on maintenance duty found the snake below a seat. The plane was to take-off for Mumbai on Tuesday morning.

“There was commotion which scared the snake and it went further inside,” said an airport source. The snake crawled inside a small air vend below the seat after which the staff opened all doors and unscrewed panels.

The airline informed the airport authorities, who called the NGO Wildlife SOS. But the snake remained untraceable. “The plane was fumigated but it seems the snake went further inside the aircraft,” he said.

The snake was not found despite repeated checks. “The plane was already late for the Mumbai flight and a spare plane had to be used,” the source said.

Air India confirmed the incident. “The Srinagar-Jammu-Delhi flight had a patient from Jammu and six seats had to be removed to accommodate his stretcher. The seats were kept in the cargo hold,” an Air India spokesman said.

The spokesman said the snake could have entered crawled on to one of the seats while they were being taken back to the plane from the cargo hold, he said.