As if turbulence and engine failure weren’t enough to keep you on the ground, it looks like there’s one more thing to be afraid of when flying: scorpions. A woman was stung by one of the eight-legged creatures during a flight from Toronto to Calgary in Canada last month, and while it was likely a one-off incident, it’s absolutely terrifying.
The incident occurred on February. 26, according to a report from the CBC. Quin Maltais, a student in Alberta, Canada, told the outlet that she was in the final hour of her flight when she noticed a “fluttering motion” on her lower back. She brushed it off as an overactive air conditioner, and remained calmly in her seat. As the lights came up on the flight, however, Maltais said she felt a sudden piercing pain in her back, as though she’d been stung. It turns out she was right.
The CBC reported that Maltais rushed to figure out what the pain was from, quickly removing her sweater, and spotted a four-inch scorpion on her seat. She said it had been in her sweater for about “30 minutes.” Flight attendants initially refused to believe her, blaming the pain on a gum wrapper found beneath her seat. When they returned to her seat to check again, the plane crew finally spotted the creepy crawly creature, according to the outlet.
Maltais was taken off the plan by paramedics, who were able to determine that she was OK and hadn’t sustained any serious injuries from the sting. She did, however, have “a full-fledged panic attack,” she told the CBC. Totally understandable, given the circumstances.
“Paramedics had to kind of keep me strapped to a heart monitor for a while ‘cause I was just unable to calm down,” she shared.
An Air Transat spokesperson assured the public in a statement to the CBC that scorpions on planes are a rare occurrence, though it does happen from time to time. We’re not sure that’s going to put anyones mind at ease, but OK. The scorpion was removed from the airplane and given to airport authorities. No one seems to know how the arachnid got on the plane in the first place, but it seems safe to assume it didn’t have a ticket and wasn’t anyone’s emotional support scorpion.
“Although this is an extremely rare situation, it can unfortunately occur. Our teams followed the protocols in place and a complete inspection of the aircraft, as well as an extermination process, were carried,” the spokesperson said.
While Canada may not be the first place you associate with scorpions, this apparently isn’t the first time this happened. A man on a flight from Houston to Calgary in 2017 was also stung by a scorpion on a plane, according to Travel + Leisure. The creature was discovered, stomped to death and flushed down a plane toilet. A separate report from the magazine cited another such incident in September 2017, which lead and American Airlines flight to be canceled before anyone could be stung.
According to People, all scorpions are venomous, but not all are poisonous to humans. Some stings can be life-threatening and all should be treated by a medical professional immediately.
Next time you’re flying somewhere, maybe double check the seat before settling in. You never know what could be lurking in there.