Python on a plane! Slithery stowaway shocks passengers

SYDNEY Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:54am EST

A python lies wedged on the wing of a Qantas passenger plan as it flies over Port Moresby January 10, 2013 in this handout picture. REUTERS/Robert Weber/oldplantation.com.pg/Handout

A python lies wedged on the wing of a Qantas passenger plan as it flies over Port Moresby January 10, 2013 in this handout picture.

Credit: Reuters/Robert Weber/oldplantation.com.pg/Handout

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SYDNEY (Reuters) - Passengers on a flight from Australia to Papua New Guinea were shocked to look out their cabin windows to find a huge snake on the wing of the plane.

The three metre-long (9.1 foot) non-poisonous Amethystine python appeared about an hour into the Qantas flight between Cairns in northern Queensland and the Papua New Guinean capital of Port Moresby on Thursday.

"Halfway to Papua New Guinea passengers reported seeing a snake clinging to the wing," a Qantas spokesman said of the snake, which is also known as a scrub python and can grow to as much as 8.5 metres (28 ft) long.

A crew member told Australian media that the initial reaction when the python's presence was first reported was "you've got to be kidding".

The slithery stowaway was believed to have crawled onto the plane from scrubland or mangroves that surround the airport in tropical Cairns.

Qantas said there was no impact on the safe operation of the aircraft due to the snake's presence. The Bombardier Q400 was cleared to resume flying after it landed in Port Moresby.

The snake, unfortunately, was found dead on arrival. (Reporting by Pauline Askin; Editing by Elaine Lies)

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