A scorpion found its way onto a United Airlines plane in Texas, crawling out of a passenger’s clothing and setting off a flight-delaying search through the cabin. In the end, the passengers departed on another plane and it was not clear whether the scorpion managed to scurry away.
The incident happened Thursday evening at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston on Flight 1035 bound for Quito, Ecuador.
A statement from United said the plane came back to the gate after a “scorpion reportedly emerged from a customer’s clothing. Paramedics at the gate immediately examined the customer and determined that he had not been stung.”
The airline said the customer “declined further medical treatment” and did not change his travel plans.
Passengers left almost four hours later on a new aircraft.
It was not known whether the scorpion was found despite an extensive search.
For their time and rattled nerves, passengers got a meal voucher, United said.
It isn’t the first time a scorpion has been found on a plane.
A man was stung in mid-April by a scorpion on another United flight from Houston to Calgary. In that incident, a couple was returning from vacation in Mexico. The scorpion fell from the overhead bin and landed in the man’s hair, according to news reports. He shook it out and it landed on his tray table. He picked it up and it stung him.
The scorpion was eventually flushed down a toilet. The man was said to be okay other than feeling a sting that felt like a wasp bite. Scorpion venom is rarely fatal, but stings from some species can cause symptoms such as a spike in blood pressure and a rapid heartbeat.
United also has been stung by several self-inflicted problems. In April, a passenger was forcibly removed by law enforcement officers from his seat. The carrier said he was removed to make room on the overbooked flight for United personnel.