Around Asia: Snake stows away on plane in Sydney

Hundreds of passengers were stranded in Sydney overnight after a snake was found on a Japan-bound Qantas plane.

Crew members found the 20 cm-long Mandarin rat snake in the cabin before passengers boarded the plane, grounding the flight bound for Tokyo on Sunday night.

All 370 passengers were booked into hotels overnight and a replacement flight left Sydney on Monday morning.

A Qantas spokeswoman told AFP the tiny snake, a non-venomous reptile and is commonly found in Asia, was taken to quarantine.

An official from Australia’s Department of Agriculture said they were “looking into how the snake came to be on the plane, but isn’t able to speculate at this time.”

The plane had been reportedly on the tarmac in Sydney for most of Sunday after landing from a Singapore flight.

The snake was later killed by agriculture officials to make sure it did not introduce non-native pests or diseases into the country.

The plane would be fumigated before returning to service, officials added, in case it was not the only snake on board.

This is the second time this year a snake was found on a Qantas plane. In January, a three-meter scrub python was discovered on the wing of one of its plane as it flew between the Australian city of Cairns to Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea.

It was still on the aircraft when it landed in PNG but did not survive.

By: Maesie Bertumen

Image:  tripletrouble/Flickr

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