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Deadly snake found under seat on plane – and there’s a twist in the tail

After finding a cobra in his seat, a South African pilot made an emergency landing.

Rudolf Erasmus alerted the four passengers to the presence of the stowaway reptile, after feeling “something cold” on his lower back.

He looked down to see the head of a Cape Cobra, also called a yellow cobra and “receiving back under the seat”.

Because of their potent venom, Cape cobras are among the most dangerous species of cobra in Africa.


In just 30 minutes, one bite can be fatal.

Erasmus stated, “There was a momentary stunned silence,” and that everyone managed to remain calm.

The pilots positioned the snake on his back and called air traffic control to request permission to land in Welkom, central South Africa . This was another 10 to 15 minute drive.

A snake handler and emergency responders were present on the ground to greet the plane and its passengers. But it was there that the story took a different turn.

Image Search for the snake at Welkom airport

Johan de Klerk, a snake handler, and a team made up of aviation engineers searched for the cobra for nearly two days. However, the team still didn’t find the cobra on Wednesday.

They weren’t sure if it had gone unnoticed.

Because Mr Erasmus, an engineer, needed the plane back to his company, he was forced by the engineering company to fly the 90-minute return journey with the possibility that the cobra might still be aboard.

“I would say that I was on high alert,” Erasmus stated. He had worn a thick winter jacket and wrapped a blanket around his seat.

Image: Snake handler Johan de Klerk

The deadly snake has not been found on the plane, but it was removed from the aircraft.

Erasmus stated, “I hope it finds someplace to go,”

“Just don’t fly my plane.”


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