A South African plane was forced to perform an emergency landing following the discovery of a 5-foot-long, venomous cobra in the cockpit.
Rudolph Erasmus was piloting a private aircraft with four passengers at 11,000 feet when he reported feeling a “cold sensation” on his hip. Erasmus, suspecting that his water bottle may have been leaking, peered down and saw a highly poisonous snake slithering away beneath him.
The pilot took a moment to compose himself out of concern that he might cause distress onboard his small Beechcraft Baron 58. “I told them, “Listen, there’s a serpent under my seat.” It’s inside the cockpit, so we’ll have to perform an emergency landing immediately “He told the Lowvelder, a local news outlet. Fortunately, everyone remained composed.
A puncture from a Cape cobra — the species Erasmus believes he unwittingly carried as an additional passenger — is fatal. Despite its reputation for tranquility, the Cape is regarded as one of Africa’s most venomous cobras.
Erasmus radioed his emergency and was promptly given permission to land at the closest airport.
Erasmus stated that after landing and after everyone had exited the aircraft safely, he stood on the plane’s wing and moved the seat forward to discover the snake still resting underneath it. It was quite a large individual.
According to News24, the South African civil aviation commissioner, Poppy Khoza, praised Erasmus for his “great airmanship, which saved all lives on board”