'Snakes on a Plane' Not Just a Movie
Monty Coles thought he was alone in his four-seat Piper Warrior when he took off from Charleston, W. Va., over Memorial Day weekend. Until he saw a tiny head poke out of his instrument panel. When a 4-foot black snake slithered out, he tried to hit it with a handheld radio, and "it fell on my feet," says the kitchen and bathroom salesman, 62. "I grabbed him behind the head, and he coiled up around my right arm and started squeezing."
•In July, Dutch customs officials at the Amsterdam airport thought they were looking at a plastic snake in a parcel marked "toys" being sent from Hong Kong. Wrong. It was a live poisonous Fea's viper sent airmail to a Netherlands collector. Luckily, no one was bitten.
•A copperhead emerged from a heat vent on a helicopter flying near Rock Hill, S.C., in 1991. The pilot tried to step on the snake, lost control of the copter and was severely injured in the crash, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
And a snake once slipped aboard an airliner, taking shelter in an overhead bin and later dropping onto the lap of a terrified female passenger, recalls Joel Chusid, a former airline executive who is chairman of the Association of Travel Marketing Executives.