A pilot in South Africa had to make an emergency landing after discovering a Cape cobra, one of the most venomous snake species in Africa, hiding under his seat. Rudolf Erasmus alerted his four passengers of the snake after he felt “something cold” slide across his back. A local snake handler and aviation engineers searched the plane for nearly two days, but still could not find the reptile. Erasmus was then forced to fly the 90-minute journey back without any sign of the cobra onboard.
Cape cobras are highly venomous and one bite can kill a person within 30 minutes. Erasmus called air traffic control asking for permission to make an emergency landing in the town of Welkom, where emergency responders and a snake handler were waiting to meet the plane when it landed. Despite the many snakes found in Africa, Cape cobras are considered one of the most dangerous snake species in Africa.
Following the incident, the engineering company that Mr Erasmus works for needed the plane back, meaning he had to fly the 90-minute journey back with the possibility that the cobra was still onboard. He wore a thick winter jacket, wrapped a blanket around his seat and had a fire extinguisher, insect repellent and golf club within arm’s reach. Eventually, the plane was stripped but still no sign of the deadly snake.
The incident highlights the significant risks associated with working and travelling in certain areas of the world where dangerous and potentially deadly animals roam. In cases such as these, it’s crucial for businesses and individuals to have appropriate emergency response procedures in place to minimise risk and ensure everyone’s safety.