(VitalNews.org) – A cabin crew found more passengers than expected on a flight from Thailand to Taiwan on October 4. Footage taken from on board the passenger plane shows chaotic scenes after passengers first saw a large, albino rat scurrying around their feet, sparking a hunt for the creature. The rat was captured by a member of the air crew who was consequently bitten on the hand while taking the creature to the plane’s kitchen and away from the other passengers.
Before long, another eagle-eyed flyer spotted a young otter, measuring approximately one foot in length, rolling around under the seats. At this point, the airline staff made an announcement to the confused travelers, demanding the responsible party come forward. According to one witness, the staff began searching through the plane for evidence of where the smuggled animals had come from before a woman admitted that she had snuck them onto the plane in her hand luggage, and then asked if she could get a refund for her flight.
Upon landing in Taipei, Taiwan, a thorough search was conducted, and more than 30 animals were confiscated from the woman’s luggage. The illicit menagerie included two otters, a marmot, a snake, and 28 star turtles. Authorities told the public that the turtles will be kept in quarantine; unfortunately for the rest of the animals, they will be sent to Pingtung University to have their species confirmed before being disposed of.
The woman, who has been described as uncooperative, faces a stiff penalty of approximately $31,000 for smuggling the live creatures through airport security. An investigation has begun into just how she managed to move them through Suvarnabhumi International Airport without being stopped. Airport staff have since admitted that the animals were indeed spotted during standard security checks, but the woman was still allowed to take them on board the plane. The staff member who permitted the woman to continue with her bag has since been suspended from duty and potentially faces criminal charges.
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