The pilot finds Cobra under a seat in mid-flight and lands emergency.


CAPE TOWN, South Africa: The pilot of a small plane in South Africa made an emergency landing after discovering a highly venomous snake hidden under his seat.
Rudolf Erasmus was flying with four passengers in his aircraft on Monday when he felt “something cold” slide down his lower back. Glancing over, he saw the head of a large Cape cobra “backing under the seat,” he declared. The Cape cobra (naja Nivea) is one of the most dangerous cobra species in Africa due to the potency of its venom.
“It was like my brain didn’t realize what was happening,” he told The Associated Press. After taking a moment to compose himself, he informed the passengers about the viperine stowaway. “There was a moment of stunned silence,” he added. Everyone remained calm, especially the pilot.
Erasmus called air control to request permission to land in an emergency in Welkom, a small city in the country’s center. He flew around for 10 or 15 minutes, leering at the snake coiled at his feet until he could land.
“I couldn’t stop looking at her. He seemed happy under the seat,” Erasmus said. “I’m not terribly afraid of snakes, but I don’t usually go near them.”
Brian Emmenis, who works at Welkom’s Gold FM radio station and is an aviation expert, received a call for help. He called the fire and rescue department, which sent first responders and a herpetologist to meet the plane at the airport. He recounted that they all disembarked, “evidently shaken” but safe, thanks to Erasmus.
“He kept his cool and landed that plane with a deadly venomous Cape cobra under his seat,” Emmenis said.
The drama did not end for the poor pilot.
Snake specialist Johan de Klerk and a team of engineers searched the plane for two days, but by Wednesday, they had yet to find it, and there were questions about whether it had escaped unseen. The Cobra did not reappear during the return flight and no sign of it during another search. “I hope he has a place to go,” added Erasmus. “But not on my plane.”



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