An Air India flight from Varanasi to Dehradun on January 26 was cancelled after a rat caused a considerable amount of commotion at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport. According to reports, flight AI 691 was taxing on the runway when it was brought back after some passengers saw a rat on board. The passengers were immediately deboarded and a search for the rat began.
A senior AI official reportedly said that the flight could not take off with the rat since it could have nibbled away at some wire which could have caused a technical snag during the flight. Once the flight was cancelled, passengers also created a ruckus, however, they were taken to a nearby hotel and later adjusted in other flights to their respective destination. The officials also informed that engineers were also called from Delhi and renewed efforts were made to find the rat.
After much efforts, the rat, however, still remains untraceable, but pesticide was sprayed inside the jet to ensure that the missing rat does not survive. Even though the rat has not been found, the aircraft resumed operation and was flown to Dehradun after a shut down for almost 12 hours.
This is not the first time that a flight has been delayed due to an unexpected traveller. An Aero flight SU1730 that was flying from Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in central-eastern Russia also faced a peculiar challenge when a pigeon sneaked into the cabin and delayed the flight by 20 minutes. According to reports, the bird was seen flying at high speeds within the cabin while the staff tried to hurriedly catch it.
It was believed that the bird might have sneaked inside the cabin while the plane was undergoing mandatory cleaning maintenance between flights. In another incident, a python had managed to jet off on an aeroplane from Australia to New Zealand. The snake reportedly fell onto the runway and crawled away unnoticed by the ground staffers. It was later reported the snake sneaked inside the aircraft's undercarriage, however, it was recovered by officials later.
(with inputs from agencies)