A pilot makes an emergency landing in South Africa after the discovery of a cobra in the cockpit

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© WhatsApp image by Sarah du Toit

The pilot of a Beechcraft Baron registered ZS-JYD made an emergency landing in South Africa after discovering a highly poisonous cobra in the cockpit of the aircraft, local media reported on Wednesday.

The pilot, Rudolf Erasmus, was flying with four passengers from Worcester in the Western Cape Province to Nelspruit in Mpumalanga Province.

The pilot claimed that when he saw the snake he had a moment of stunned silence, not knowing whether to tell the passengers, as he did not want to cause panic.

But obviously they needed to know what was going on, at some point. I said, look, there’s a problem. There’s a snake inside the plane. I feel like it’s under my seat, so we’re going to have to get the plane down as soon as possible.

The pilot then alerted the Johannesburg control tower of his approach to the airport of Welkom where he made an emergency landing. As soon as the plane landed, the passengers got out and as Erasmus spun his seat forward he saw the snake curled up below.

Engineers later searched the plane for the snake, to no avail.

The pilot remained calm in the face of a dangerous situation and managed to land the plane without any danger to himself or his passengers, demonstrating to the world that he is a first-class ambassador of aviation safety,” the director of the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) said on Friday.

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