Unexpected Stowaway: South African Pilot Comes Face-to-Face With Venomous Cobra

Cape CobraInternationalIndiaAfricaThe Cape cobra is considered one of the most venomous snakes in Africa as its venom contains the highest number of neurotoxins of all cobras. The mortality rate from the slippery reptile is quite high, making such a companion at an altitude of over 3,000 meters to be a very unpleasant surprise.South African pilot Rudolph Erasmus was recently forced to make an emergency landing after a deadly Cape cobra was caught hiding under his seat midflight.Erasmus was flying with four passengers from Bloemfontein to Pretoria in a Beechcraft Baron 58 at 11,000 feet when he felt a “cold sensation” against his body. Looking down under the seat, the pilot discovered the cobra, whose venom can kill a person in half an hour.

"To be truly honest, it's as if my brain did not register what was going on," he told South African media. "It was a moment of […] awe… As I turned to the left and looked down I saw the cobra […] receding its head backwards underneath the seat."

After gathering his strength, the pilot reported an unexpected companion. To the credit of all the passengers, they managed to avoid panic.The pilot has stated he and others initially searched for the snake before takeoff after being informed that a reptile had been spotted near the plane. However, when the group did not find it, they believed the snake had slithered away elsewhere – not onto the aircraft.ViralToddler Bites Snake Back, Kills It – Report17 August 2022, 13:20 GMTErasmus later radioed officials about the emergency situation, after which he was allowed to land at the nearest airport. All passengers left the plane safely and no one was injured. South African Civil Aviation Commissioner Poppy Khoza thanked Erasmus for his “great airmanship indeed, which saved all lives on board.“”I think that’s a bit blown up if I can be direct,” Erasmus said, adding that “It’s also my passengers that remained calm as well.


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