The Civil Aviation Authority (BLA) praised a cool-headed pilot for his bravery despite a Cape cobra sticking its head out in the cockpit on a flight and still landing safely.
Rudolf Erasmus (30) was on his way from Worcester to Mbombela with a Beechcraft Baron 58 with four passengers on Monday when he spotted the snake on board the plane.
Erasmus initially thought his water bottle was leaking when he felt something cold and wet against his hip. He saw the snake crawl under his seat and minutes later informed his passengers about the uninvited guest. Erasmus then made an emergency landing at Welkom in the Free State where the occupants quickly scrambled out.
The plane was searched there (unsuccessfully) for the elusive Cape cobra.
Poppy Khoza, director of the CAA, joined many other South Africans in their praise for Erasmus who showed “impeccable bravery” in the situation.
“I want to congratulate Rudolph for his brave actions and for how he handled a situation that could have been a major aviation incident.
“He remained calm in the midst of a dangerous situation and landed his plane safely, without any injuries to himself or his passengers,” says Khoza.
“He has shown the world that he is an aviation safety ambassador of the highest order.”
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