Never fear ophidiophobes, I’m not talking about a real winged snake here.
In 1929 a moth type plane was lifting off from the airfield at Eagle Farm in Queensland when an unwanted passenger made its presence felt.
According to the article:
“The snake was of a non-poisonous type about three feet long and appeared just after the machine had risen from the ground. The passenger struck at it with a camera he was carrying in time to prevent the snake biting him. The camera struck the edge of the cockpit and fell overboard.
The passenger then attempted to beat off the reptile’s attacks with his boots, and afterwards tried to raise himself with the intention of moving along the wing.
Captain Tapp, glancing around, realised that something serious was amiss and thereupon steered a straight course back to the hangar, where the passenger lost no time in jumping out of the machine.”
What a politely written article. I think I am going to take the opportunity to rewrite it with my version of what probably happened.
Once the plane took off, a startled snake appeared near the feet of the passenger. In a panic the passenger threw his camera at it with such dreadful aim that it was lost over the side and crashed to the ground.
The snake then did its best to get away from the flailing passenger, who was now frantically stamping with his boots while trying to get his safety belt off under the misguided apprehension that he would be safer on the wing.
Fortunately, they were at low altitude and Captain Tapp, after the screaming called his attention to what was going on, was able to get the plane back onto the ground before the passenger fell to his death.
I am not saying that the snake didn’t want to bite the passenger, I’m just a little doubtful that the snake, finding itself in such confined quarters with a human, was doing anything other than trying to get to safety!
These stories always end with “The snake was then killed” don’t they? A pity, although in this case I think the snake was probably having a heart attack of its own by the time they made it to the ground.
If this sounds unlikely you might want to look at these earlier posts about critters in unexpected places.
Or the news report from the snake that went along for a flight last year, although with far less panic.