2012-04-05 / World

Pilot turns back after snake pops out of dashboard

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — An Australian pilot said he was forced to make a harrowing landing reminiscent of a Hollywood thriller after a snake popped out from behind his dashboard and slithered across his leg during a solo cargo flight Tuesday.

Braden Blennerhassett — unsure whether the snake was venomous — said today that his heart raced as he tried to keep his hands still while maneuvering the plane back to the northern city of Darwin. The snake popped its head out from behind the instrument panel several times, Blennerhassett said, and then the ordeal worsened when the animal crawled across his leg during the approach to the airport.

“I’ve seen it on a movie once, but never in an airplane,” Blennerhassett told Australian Broadcasting Corp., referring to the 2006 movie “Snakes on a Plane,” in which deadly snakes are deliberately released in an airliner as part of a murder plot.

The 26-year-old Air Frontier pilot was alone in a twin engine Beechcraft Baron G58 and had just left Darwin airport on a cargo run to a remote Outback Aboriginal settlement when he saw the snake.

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