Airport security officials came across a poisonous snake in one passenger's luggage on Sunday, at Cochin International Airport in India.
Flights onboard a passenger carrier are toxic enough, what with arrival and departure delays, overbooking, drunken patrons, and so on. But sometimes an unwanted passenger can add to the venomous atmosphere, making a junket even more perilous.
In this case, such a scenario was thankfully avoided when Central Industrial Security Force officials came across a poisonous snake in one passenger's luggage on Sunday, at Cochin International Airport in India. An X-ray picked up a baby krait, reputedly one of the most venomous reptiles in the country, inside a bag of potatoes. Once handlers removed the snake, they arrested the passenger for possession of a dangerous animal and took him into custody.
An interrogation later revealed that the passenger, who was hoping to board a flight destined for Abu Dhabi, bought the potatoes from a farmer and didn't think twice about what else was in the sack. He simply brought the bag with him as part of his luggage, not realizing that he was also carrying a harmful reptile. After extensive questioning, officials were convinced that the unwitting passenger was telling the truth, dropped the charges and let him go.
While those slithering reptiles have made for interesting suspense fodder, such as the much-hyped Samuel L. Jackson outing Snakes On A Plane, it's not exactly rare for those creatures to try to make their way onto a flight. Earlier in 2018, authorities confiscated a bag containing 20 snakes off a flight that landed in Moscow. In July at Miami International Airport, security discovered a python coiled into a computer hard drive. In 2016, a large snake was found in the cabin of a Mexican domestic flight.
The presence of animals on flights has received a great deal of attention in the U.S. with all four major carriers tightening up regulations over what species can be brought on board. While much of the focus has been on service animals, requirements over other animals such as snakes include adherence to stiff regulations before they are allowed in cargo holds.
Airport officials are even squeamish about replicas, including one Monday incident in South Africa, where officials confiscated a stuffed toy python from a five-year-old boy.