A snake that successfully stowed itself away on a plane flying from Brisbane to Queenstown made a brief but ultimately doomed escape into New Zealand.
The python fell onto the runway in Queenstown as the flight was landing at around 3 pm on Sunday December 15 an airport spokesperson said.
It initially slithered away unnoticed by airport staff and was only spotted when the pilot of the next flight to land reported a “foreign object” on the runway.
Queenstown Airport | © RCP
A Biosecurity NZ spokesperson said they believe the snake was lodged in the aircraft’s undercarriage. Biosecurity officers were called in to check the snake, which appeared to be still alive when retrieved by the officers.
“Our officers carefully checked the aircraft to confirm it was a single hitchhiker,” a spokesperson said.
The Otago Daily Times initially reported the snake was decapitated using a shovel. However, a Biosecurity NZ spokesperson said the snake was not decapitated.
“The snake appeared to still be alive when it was retrieved by our officers. The officers did not decapitate the snake but it was humanely euthanised.”
The snake’s surprise appearance on the runway follows a slightly more terrifying incident in 2016, where a python emerged from behind an aircraft’s overhead lockers on a 100-minute domestic flight in Mexico.