Strange experience experienced by a Frenchman on board a Dakar-Nantes flight operated by Transavia.
On February 25, a 45-year-old passenger was stung on the finger by a scorpion, which was in his bag.
“We had taken off for an hour and were flying over the Sahara when I felt nauseous.
I plunged my hand into my bag to take medicine when I felt a sting,
”says Xavier Pirot, merchant in Nantes, with
I had the bad reflex of sucking my finger thinking it was going to pass.
Except it went up all of a sudden.
I then reopened my bag placed on the knees.
That's where I saw the scorpion.
I recognized it immediately because I had already seen it in a vivarium.
The species in question is an androctonus amoreuxi, or fat-tailed scorpion, reports the daily.
The passenger and crew attempted to remain calm, despite the stress of the situation.
"I gently closed my bag and asked my 14-year-old son to call the steward,"
recalls Xavier Pirot, who was also traveling with his 11-year-old daughter.
Once the steward has been informed, the passenger is moved to the rear of the aircraft, to the area dedicated to flight personnel.
The bag, where the scorpion is, is locked in the toilet.
According to witnesses interviewed by
, no one panicked, despite the suffering of the stung passenger.
“I had my index finger completely paralyzed and if someone brushed against it I would scream.
I almost had a heart attack twice: after fifteen minutes and then an hour later.
I had the misfortune to get up, which caused the venom to circulate
, ”says the merchant from Nantes.
A specialized biologist present on the plane
Luckily, a biologist and a doctor were also present on the plane.
The first, who had already been stung himself in the past, advised the passenger to elevate his legs and gave him medication.
The second made sure that his condition was stable and his vitals good.
Once the plane landed, the passenger was taken care of by the Nantes University Hospital.
The Angers poison control center was also notified.
The scorpion, still alive after its journey, was handed over to the firefighters, then to the INF-FAUNE association, which specializes in the protection of reptiles.
After examination, he posed no danger to a healthy man in his forties.
Because even if its venom can cause intense pain, it is not fatal.
A question now remains: how could the beast escape the security services?
“Before boarding, my backpack had been extensively searched at customs after having forgotten a lighter.
Nobody noticed anything”
, testifies Xavier Pirot.
According to him, the animal of about five centimeters would have slipped into his bag during a stay in the Lompoul desert, in the north-west of Senegal.
This type of intrusion remains an exception, even if a few rare cases have recently hit the headlines.
Last October, a snake caused general panic in a plane that was traveling between Tampa (Florida) and Newark (near New York).
The reptile had burst into the ranks of the plane's business class, before being caught.