Snake Clings to Plane in Australia

Python on Qantas plane


updated 01/11/2013 AT 1:00 PM ET

originally published 01/11/2013 AT 2:25 PM ET

Now that’s what you call “winging” it.

A 9-foot nonpoisonous python was spotted clinging to the wing of a Qantas airplane headed to Papua New Guinea from Cairns, Australia, on Friday, as stunned passengers peered out the window.

Travelers first noticed the slippery stowaway about halfway through the two-hour flight, though service continued uninterrupted. While it is unclear how the rogue reptile managed to reach its perch, speculation suggests it could have crawled onto the wing from mangroves or shrubs near the runway.

Unfortunately for the high-flying animal, when the plane landed, it was found dead.

Late last year, a similar incident forced an emergency landing on the Red Sea, when a Jordanian man smuggled an Egyptian cobra onto a 90-minute flight from Cairo, Egypt, to Kuwait.