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Pilot stays calm and makes emergency landing as deadly Cobra crops up in cockpit

Pilot Rudolph Erasmus' life was potentially in danger as the deadly snake slithered up his back mid-air.(Pic: BBC)

A pilot in South Africa was forced to make an emergency landing after he suddenly saw a deadly cobra in the cockpit in the plane at 11,000 feet.

Rudolph Erasmus was flying four passengers in a private plane  when he said he felt a “cold sensation” on his hip. Thinking that his water bottle might have been leaking, Erasmus looked down instead at the sight of a highly venomous snake disappearing underneath him, according to a report in The Guardian.

He then made an emergency landing on his flight from Bloemfontein to Pretoria.

A bite from a Cape cobra is lethal and can kill a person in just 30 minutes, so not wanting to cause panic, Mr Erasmus says he thought carefully before calmly telling those on board that there was an extra unwanted passenger.

“I told them: ‘Listen, the snake is underneath my seat. It is inside the cockpit, so we are going to have to execute a landing as fast as possible,” he told the local news outlet Lowvelder. “Luckily, everyone remained calm.”

Erasmus radioed his emergency and was quickly cleared to make a landing at the nearest airport.

After touching down and with everyone safely out of the aircraft, Erasmus said he stood on the wing of the plane and moved the seat forward to find the snake still resting underneath it. “It was quite a big fellow.”

The South African civil aviation commissioner, Poppy Khoza, praised Erasmus for his “great airmanship indeed, which saved all lives on board”, News24 website reported.