April 16, 2009

Snakes escape, ground plane

An Australian airline said two flights were canceled due to the escape of four baby pythons from a container in a plane's cargo hold.

Qantas bosses said workers discovered that a shipment of 12 non-venomous Stimson pythons in the cargo hold of a plane that arrived in Melbourne from the city of Alice Springs was light four snakes, Britain's The Daily Mail reported Thursday.

Officials said the Boeing 737 was grounded after staff members were unable to locate the escaped pythons.

At first we were not sure what had happened to the other snakes, Qantas Corporate manager David Epstein said. A reptile expert suggested that some of the baby pythons had eaten the others because apparently it is not uncommon for baby pythons to eat each other.

But the only conclusion we could draw was that four of them had broken free of the packaging, he said.

Epstein said the plane was returned to service after fumigation.

If these snakes turn up they will very much be dead snakes, he said.