Plane Makes Emergency Landing After Pilot Spots Snake

The universe decided to take the movie “Snakes on a Plane” and make it real. A South African pilot had to make an emergency landing when he discovered a snake was underneath his seat.

Pilot Rudolf Erasmus was flying a private plane carrying four passengers from Bloemfontein to Pretoria when he initially thought the cold sensation he felt through his shirt was his water bottle leaking.

“As I turned to my left and looked down, I could see the head of the snake receding back underneath my seat,” Erasmus said. “At which point there was a moment of stunned silence, to be brutally honest.”

That’s when Erasmus realized had just seen a highly venomous cape cobra. The pilot quickly made arrangements for an emergency landing at the nearest airport in Welkom, South Africa. He also had the thrilling duty of informing the passengers of the stowaway snake.

“You could hear a needle drop and I think everyone froze for a moment or two,” Erasmus said.

Luckily, things didn’t turn out like the 2006 film and the plane managed to land without anyone being bitten by the cobra. After landing, Erasmus said the snake was still curled up under his chair but the reptile had disappeared by the time a professional snake catcher arrived on the scene to take care of business.

Poppy Khosa, South Africa’s civil aviation commissioner, said Erasmus was a hero. “Oh my goodness this could have been disastrous. Great airmanship indeed, which saved all lives on board. Such an amazing story and great handling of the situation by the pilot. Bravo to great airmanship,” Khoza said.