Branden Blennerhassett, a 26-year-old pilot for Air Frontier, Australia, thought he was flying alone in a company Beechcraft Baron G58 out of Darwin Tuesday when he saw a head pop out from behind the instrument panel. According to a local ABC news affiliate that contacted Blennerhassett, the pilot quickly contacted a controller to explain his concerns. "I'm going to have to return to Darwin. I've got a snake on board the plane." Blennerhassett couldn't identify the snake and didn't want to risk too much movement. He imagined that could elicit a venomous bite. Unfortunately for him, during the approach, things got a bit more intimate.
"As the plane was landing, the snake was crawling down my leg," Blennerhassett said. In spite of the distraction, Blennerhassett landed safely and was met by emergency personnel with an animal specialist on the way. Reports indicate that at least one firefighter saw the snake, and one report noted that the firefighter also saw a small green tree frog onboard. By the time a wildlife wrangler arrived on scene, neither the snake or frog could be located. The aircraft was grounded "until we find the snake," Air Frontier director Geoffrey Hunt told ABC. By Thursday, a baited trap had failed to lure the snake, now suspected to be a non-venomous golden tree snake. The species can grow to a length of about five feet.