Chaos erupted on a domestic flight traveling from Thailand’s capital Bangkok to the southern province of Phuket after a live snake was discovered by passengers in an overhead bin.
In a statement sent to CNN, AirAsia Thailand said it was aware of an incident onboard Flight FD3015 that departed Don Mueang International Airport in Bangkok on January 13.
This is the second reported incident of a snake found onboard an AirAsia plane. In February 2022, a spotted python was found onboard one of its domestic flights in Malaysia traveling from the capital Kuala Lumpur to Sabah. The plane ended up being re-routed to Kuching International Airport in the state of Sarawak because of the incident.
Videos and photos of the 2022 incident went viral on social media and showed the reptile slithering through the plane’s light fixtures.
“This is a very rare incident which can occur on any aircraft from time to time,” the airline said in a statement at the time.
Phol Poompuang, head of corporate safety of AirAsia Thailand, reiterated that the latest snake spotting was still “a very rare incident.”
“Flight attendants were notified before landing in Phuket after a passenger noticed a small snake in the overhead luggage compartment,” he said in the statement.
“AirAsia crew were well trained to handle an occurrence of this nature and relocated passengers from the area as a precautionary measure.”
The aircraft landed without incident, the company statement said, and was immediately inspected by the relevant engineering and safety teams on the ground.
“As per standard procedure for an incident of this nature, the aircraft underwent a deep clean and fumigation before resuming operations,” Phol added.
“The safety and wellbeing of our guests and crew is always our top priority and at no time was the safety of guests or crew at any risk.”
It is unclear what type of snake it was.
The company made no mention of what happened to the snake after the plane landed in Phuket but a video that went viral on TikTok, reportedly captured by a passenger on board, showed a male flight attendant responding to the incident.
Grabbing a plastic bottle, he calmly reached up above the overhead bin to try and capture it. After failing to do so, he used the back of the bottle to push the small reptile into a plastic bag.
Passengers seated near the bin where the snake was spotted could be seen standing, away from their seats, in the video. Others whipped out their phones to film the situation. Airport ground security staff were later spotted onboard the plane, investigating the area of the cabin where the snake was captured.
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