Australian Pilot: ‘I’ve Got a Snake on Board the Plane’

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One apparently unflappable Australian pilot managed to be cool-headeded when confronted by an unlikely mid-flight foe: a snake in his cockpit.

Yes, pilot Braden Blennerhassett seems to have had an actual Snakes on a Plane experience. And from the story he’s told since his encounter, it sounds like a claustrophobic nightmare to be stuck in a small space while a snake slithers about. Luckily, there was just one reptile on the loose in the small, twin-engine plane and the pilot discovered it after he took off on a flight from the city of Darwin, the Australian Broadcasting Corp reported.

(MORE: Bedbugs on A Plane: Scarier Than Snakes on a Plane?)

“Lo and behold, in between the instrument panel and the dashboard, a stow away came on board and it took me a while to register that it was actually a snake,” Blennerhassett told the network.

He radioed in to air traffic control to inform of the reptile and the director who spoke to the pilot, Geoff Hunt, was quoted by the Associated Press saying that he heard this message: “I’m going to have to return to Darwin. I’ve got a snake on board the plane.” As the flight headed back to land, the snake got cozier, winding up on the pilot’s leg.

Once landed — like any decent thriller — the mystery was left partly unsolved. “We have got another chap here who is an aircraft engineer and a snake handler and he had a look [in the plane] and he couldn’t find [the snake],” said Hunt to The Australian newspaper. The AP reported that the snake was seen by a firefighter but it wasn’t yet caught.