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Pilot forced to make emergency landing after finding deadly 4ft cobra in cockpit

Pilot forced to make emergency landing after finding deadly 4ft cobra in cockpit

He was flying above South Africa when he felt a 'cold sensation' on his back

A pilot was forced to make an emergency landing after discovering a 4 ft-long snake in the cockpit of his plane. I think I’ve seen a movie a bit like this...

Pilot Rudolph Erasmus was flying at 11,000 feet above South Africa when he felt a ‘cold sensation on his back’.

Initially, Erasmus didn’t fully process what was happening and continued on his journey aboard the Beechcraft Baron 58 from Bloemfontein to Pretoria.

However, when he spotted the whopping cobra slithering about his cockpit, he warned his four passengers and started preparing to make an emergency landing.

Speaking to the BBC, he said: To be truly honest, it's as if my brain did not register what was going on.

“I felt this cool sensation, sort of, crawling up my shirt.

“As I turned to the left and looked down I saw the cobra... receding its head backwards underneath the seat.”

At this point, Erasmus was in a bit of a tough spot, because he knew that serpent on his flight, a Cape cobra, has a bite that can kill a person in just 30 minutes - and he was very wary of causing a panic amongst his passengers.

A Cape cobra found its way onto the plane.
Nature Picture Library / Alamy Stock Photo

At the same time, he was also slightly concerned that the snake might have made its way back there and was causing the panic all by itself.

Ultimately, he decided to break the not-so-good news.

He recalled: "I did inform the passengers: 'Listen the snake is inside the aircraft, it's underneath my seat, so let's try and get down to the ground as soon as we can.'"

And it turns out that people are full of surprises, because Erasmus said there was no panic - in fact, he said ‘you could hear a needle drop and I think everyone froze for a moment or two’.

Fair play to them, they’re all much braver than I am because I would have been screaming, crying and trying to yank that door open.

Miraculously, nobody was injured in the shocking turn of events.
Facebook/Brian Emmenis

In the end, Erasmus made an emergency landing in the city of Welkom, just shy of a 100 miles from where it set off.

The pilot's calm manner and quick-thinking in a slippery situation earned him high praise from South African civil aviation commissioner, Poppy Khosa, who said he showed ‘great airmanship indeed which saved all lives on board’.

But Erasmus is a humble guy and told the BBC: "I think that's a bit blown up if I can be direct. It's also my passengers that remained calm as well."

Featured Image Credit: Brian Emmenis/Facebook

Topics: World News, Animals