Snake scare grounds Qantas plane in Australia

An eight-inch Mandarin Rat Snake grounded a Qantas flight in Sydney overnight, forcing 370 passengers to postpone their travel plans to Tokyo.

Airline personnel discovered the tiny snake in the passenger cabin near the door on a Qantas Boeing 747 before passengers began boarding the plane on Sunday, the Associated Press reported.

The snake on the plane was taken by quarantine officials for analysis, and was euthanized, "as exotic reptiles of this kind can harbor pests and diseases not present in Australia," Australia's Agriculture Department said in a statement.

The airline put passengers up in hotel rooms overnight, and had the plane fumigated. The Tokyo-bound flight was given a new wheels-up time and departed Sydney International Airport on Monday morning, according to the AP.

The snake arrived on a flight a day earlier from Singapore, the department said.

"The Department of Agriculture is looking into how the snake came to be on the plane, but isn't able to speculate at this time," the department said.

This is the second incident a snake has caused a scare on a Qantas plane this year.

In January, a python coiled itself into a space on an aircraft's wing during a flight from Cairns, Australia, to Papua New Guinea. It died during the flight, the AP reported.


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