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Some trip report!!!
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 Pilot tells of mid-air battle with snake
June 3 2006


A pilot has told of his mid-air battle with a four and a half-foot snake that forced him into an emergency landing.

Monty Coles was flying at 3,000 feet when he discovered the slippery stowaway peeking out at him from the plane's instrument panel.

Coles, 62, had left Charleston, West Virginia, for a leisurely flight alone over the countryside last Saturday in his Piper Cherokee and was preparing to land in Gallipolis, Ohio, when the black snake revealed itself.

"Nothing in any of the manuals ever described anything like this," Coles, from Cross Lanes, West Virginia, said. But the advice given 25 years earlier from his flight instructor immediately came to mind: "No matter what happens, fly the plane."

An attempt to swat the snake only resulted in it falling to Coles' feet under the rudder pedals. It then darted to the other side of the cockpit.


Story continues


While maintaining control of the single-engine plane with one hand, Coles grabbed the reptile behind its head with the other.

"There was no way I was letting that thing go. It coiled all around my arm, and its tail grabbed hold of a lever on the floor and started pulling," Coles said.

The next step was to radio for emergency landing clearance.

"They came back and asked what my problem was. I told them I had one hand full of snake and the other hand full of plane. They cleared me in."

After a smooth landing, Coles posed for pictures with the snake, then let it go.

"That snake resides in Ohio now," he said. "I wasn't about to bring it home.

"I don't mind snakes, but I sure like to know where they are."


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