Snake grounds Qantas jet with 370 passengers in Sydney
CANBERRA (AP) – A tiny exotic snake was found on a Qantas Boeing 747 airliner, leading to 370 passengers being grounded in Sydney overnight, the airline said on Monday.
Staff found the 20-centimeter Mandarin Rat Snake in the passenger cabin near the door late Sunday before passengers were due to board the flight bound for Tokyo from Sydney International Airport, Qantas said in a statement.
Australia’s flagship airline said passengers were given hotel rooms overnight and left Sydney on a replacement plane on Monday morning. Qantas said the original jet would be fumigated before returning to service in case there were other snakes on board.
The snake was taken by quarantine officials for analysis.
The Agriculture Department said the snake, a species that grows to an average 1.2 metres, had been euthanised, “as exotic reptiles of this kind can harbour pests and diseases not present in Australia.”