A plane from Bangkok to Taiwan took a wild turn when a rat and an otter smuggled aboard by a passenger got loose in the main cabin mid-flight.
“I was confused so he said again ‘pet rat, pet rat, it has a white body and it’s not small,” one passenger told ViralPress.
The Wednesday flight aboard a low-cost VietJet Air flight erupted in panic as the air hostesses freaked out upon noticing what passengers described as an albino rat and a nearly 1-foot-long otter scurrying around on the floor.
A subsequent police search of the vessel also located a box containing 28 live turtles, a snake, one marmot, two otters and two other rodents of unknown species among the luggage upon landing in Taipei.
Police have focused their investigation on one female passenger who allegedly smuggled the creatures through security at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Thailand. The woman faces a penalty of up to $31,000, as outlined in the Prevention and Control of Animal Infectious Diseases statute.
“I told the cabin crew, and they checked the plane,” the passenger explained. “That’s when they found the big otter under one of the seats.”
“They kept looking for the white rat and an employee caught the rat,” the passenger added. “It bit them on the hand while they carried it back to the kitchen at the back of the plane.”
The cabin crew immediately ordered anyone who brought the animals on the plane to make themselves known. The culprit did not come forward initially, but after the cabin crew started investigating, she demanded a refund and admitted to owning the escaped animals.
The woman may have bought the animals in a Thai market and looked to bring them home after a visit.
The turtles will remain in quarantine and the other animals will go to Pingtung University of Science and Technology for examination and “confirmation” before authorities “dispose” of them.
VietJet Air is the first privately-owned airline established in Vietnam and is currently the largest private airline in the country, according to the Victoria Advocate.