Airlines ground crew
discovers snake on Maui

It appears the reptile secretly
boarded a jet from San Francisco

WAILUKU >> A gopher snake apparently hitched a ride on a United Airlines jet from California to Maui last week.

An airlines ground crew found part of a snake's remains Aug. 20 after United Flight 49 landed at Kahului Airport from San Francisco, state agriculture spokeswoman Janelle Saneishi said yesterday.

Hawaii has a ban on snakes. The gopher snake is common in California.

Domingo Cravalho, a state quarantine specialist, said officials were unable to identify the species of gopher snake because its head and tail were missing. He said he thinks the snake climbed up the wheel, perhaps believing it was a tree.

Cravalho said there was no opening out of which the snake might have migrated from the baggage compartment to the wheel well.

The last time a snake was found on a jet was in 1998, when a ground crew member in Honolulu found a brown tree snake in one of the panels of the wheel well of a Continental Airlines jet from Guam, he said.


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