By Spy Uganda Correspondent
Domestic AirAsia flight from Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur to Tawau, Sabah, was forced to divert on Thursday after passengers spotted a snake in an overhead compartment.
The airline confirmed in a statement to local media outlets, “an incident” on board the flight after a TikTok user posted a video showing the silhouette of a snake moving slowly in what appears to be a plane’s luggage compartment.
“AirAsia is aware of an incident on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Tawau on Thursday,” AirAsia’s chief safety officer Liong Tien Ling said. “As soon as the captain was aware, he made the decision to divert the aircraft to Kuching as a precautionary measure to fumigate the aircraft.
“This is a very rare incident which can occur on any aircraft from time to time,” he added.
A spokesman for the airline said that passengers were diverted to Kuching, Sarawak—some 1,500 kilometers (900 miles) away from the plane’s original destination. Airline staff were still searching for the reptile when the aircraft landed in Kuching, according to the news outlet.
Liong said the captain “took the appropriate action” in prioritizing the the safety and wellbeing of passengers and crew.
“At no time was the safety of guests or crew at any risk,” he added.
It isn’t clear what species of snake was on board the flight or what happened to it.