If you didn’t already have a fear of snakes, Hollywood action movie Snakes on a Plane – about a passenger jet infested with deadly slithering reptiles – may well have fixed that. But even the most ardent ophidiophobe must feel a little sorry for the specimen that found itself flying through the air several thousand feet up at the mercy of -12C degree temperatures and 250mph winds, after crawling under the wing of a Qantas aeroplane.
Passengers on a flight from Australia to Papua New Guinea rushed to capture footage of the unfortunate creature after spotting it wrapped around the wing, clinging on as its tail was battered against the plane’s fuselage, leaving streaks of blood behind it.
Robert Weber, from Cairns, told the Sydney Morning Herald: “The people at the front were oblivious to what was going on but the passengers at the back were all totally focused on the snake and how it might have got on to the aircraft.
“There was no panic. At no time did anyone stop to consider that there might be others on board.”
A crew member said the initial reaction to claims that there was a snake on the wing of the plane had been “You’ve got to be kidding”.
The reptile was identified as an Amethystine or scrub python, which can grow up to 28 feet in length, and is thought to have crawled on to the plane from nearby scrubland.
Despite hanging on bravely for the entire flight, the snake was pronounced dead on arrival.