Passengers on an Egypt Air flight to Kuwait became the unwilling participants in an all-too-real version of the action thriller Snakes on a Plane this week, after a cobra escaped from one man's hand luggage.
The plane that had taken off from Cairo was forced to make an emergency landing in the Egyptian resort town of Al Ghardaqa on the Red Sea after the serpent bit the 48-year-old Jordanian that had smuggled it on board, the Jordan Times reported.
In the 2006 hit film Snakes on a Plane, actor Samuel L. Jackson grapples to save the aircraft after the cabin becomes overrun by hundreds of hyped-up venomous serpents.
"Imagine your greatest fears; the ones that paralyse you; the ones that render you helpless. Now imagine them all at once," says the voice-over in the film's trailer.
The words must be fitting for how passengers on the Kuwait bound flight felt as the dangerous snake sunk its teeth into its Jordanian owner and slithered among the seats.
"You know all those little security scenarios we ran? Well I am smack in the middle of one we didn't think of," says Mr Jackson in the film, surrounded by hissing vipers.
The Egyptian cobra's venom is so deadly it can kill a full-grown elephant in three hours or a person in about 15 minutes. Experts say the venom destroys nerve tissue and causes paralysis and death because of respiratory failure.
The Egyptian daily al-Masry al-Youm reported that the man refused medical treatment, claiming his wound was only superficial. The plane resumed its flight to Kuwait after local authorities confiscated the snake.
Ruth Sherlock Telegraph.co.uk