Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea), Jan 11: Passengers on board of a Qantas jet flying from Cairns in northern Australia to Papua New Guniea witnessed in awe a 12-feet python travelling with them by clinging to a wing of the aircraft at 30,000 feet. The situation reminded one of the 2006 movie - Snakes on a Plane, although it was far from the excitement and horror that the movie had created.
It was around 20 minutes after the flight took off that a female passenger first spotted the snake. The other passengers watched the reptile for the rest of the journey as it kept on battling to survive in extremely freezing conditions. The snake, thought to be a Scrub Python, perhaps got into the landing gear cavity to keep warm before the aircraft took off.
One of the passengers of the flight later said that although the snake continued to catch all attention, there was no panic among the passengers on board about the possibility of the presence of more reptiles on the plane. They were rather wondering how the reptile reached the plane, he said.
The snake, it was learnt, kept hanging but each time it managed to find a shelter into the cavity, the wind destabilised it again. The pilot also came out of the main cabin to take a look at the snake and said it must have died, because of the severe battering it had taken.
The snake clung to the wing for two hours till the plane reached its destination but it was dead by then, sources said. Australian snake experts said the reptile was a non-toxic scrub python, the longest snake species in Australia and commonly found in northern Queensland. Qantas authorities said they had never heard of such an incident before and said there was no possibility of the snake accessing the cabin.
How snakes survive cold?
The journey made by the reptile at -12 degrees was possible mainly because of the fact that snakes are cold-blooded creatures that can alternate their body temperature to suit the environment. Cold-blooded creatures are more active in warmer environments while mammals, which are warm-blooded, try to maintain a constant body temperature.