Pilot makes emergency landing after finding snake in cabin

At 11,000 feet in the air, South African pilot Rudolph Erasmus discovered a very deadly snake under his seat and was forced to make an emergency landing.

Pilot makes emergency landing after finding snake in cabin

On Monday, April 3, Erasmus was flying a small plane with four passengers when he felt “something chilly” creep across his lower back. He looked down and noticed a very huge Cape Cobra’s head “receding back under the seat.”

“It was as if my brain didn’t know what was going on,” he told The Associated Press.


After taking a moment to compose himself, he informed his passengers of the snake on board.


“There was a moment of stunned silence,” he said. Everyone stayed cool.


Erasmus called air traffic control for permission to make an emergency landing in the town of Welkom in central South Africa. He still had to fly for another 10 to 15 minutes and land the plane with the snake curled up by his feet.


“I kept looking down to see where it was. It was happy under the seat,” Erasmus said. “I don’t have a big fear of snakes but I normally don’t go near them.”


Brian Emmenis, who works at Welkom radio station Gold FM and is also an aviation expert, received a phone call to see if he could help. He called the fire and rescue department, which sent emergency responders and a snake handler to meet the plane at the airport. Emmenis was first at the scene and saw everyone disembark, “visibly shaken,” Emmenis said, but all safe thanks to Erasmus.


“He stayed calm and landed that aircraft with a deadly venomous Cape Cobra curled up underneath his seat,” Emmenis said.


Pilot makes emergency landing after finding snake in cabin


Cape Cobras are one of Africa’s most dangerous cobra species because of the potency of their venom.

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