Friday, January 11, 2013

Snake hitched ride on wing of plane

Passengers on a Qantas flight from Cairns in Australia to Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea who looked out the window of their airborne aircraft early on Thursday morning saw a 3m snake clinging to the wing. There was nothing anyone could do to help the amethystine python in the chamber just a short distance from Qantas's famous flying kangaroo logo.

Altitude was taking its toll as well as freezing temperatures and the high speed of the aircraft. Passengers could only watch on as the animal's tail was whipped against the rear end of the plane, the impact creating a blood trail on the plane's fuselage.

The python was dead on arrival when QF191 touched down at Port Moresby at 7.44am with 40 passengers and four crew on board. A crew member said that when the python's presence was first reported the initial reaction was "you gotta be kidding?'' The crew member said there was a lot of commotion on the ground after the plane landed.

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"The python didn't quite make it out alive, especially with some flap extension for landing,'' he said. Qantas said hitchhiking pythons were not an everyday occurrence. "We have never heard of this happening before,'' a spokesperson said. "The python must have taken refuge on the exterior of the aircraft at Cairns Airport overnight before take off.'' The python was handed over to quarantine officials in Port Moresby.

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