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Westjet flight grounded after iguanas escape on plane

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Daniel Bettridge Sep 18, 2016 6:14 am

In a scene that sounds like it was stripped from a schlocky B movie, passengers on a Westjet flight from Toronto to Vancouver were delayed on Saturday night after iguanas were let loose on the plane.

The strange situation was recorded on social media by bemused passengers who likened the reptilian incident to Samuel L. Jackson’s infamously bad 2006 movie Snakes on a Plane.

According to reports on Twitter, the incident occurred after a passenger flying on a previous flight from Cuba had tried to smuggle iguanas under his clothes. Customs officers nabbed the would-be smuggler after noticing his shirt was moving.

Westjet spokeswoman Lauren Stewart confirmed to Daily Hive that the flight had been delayed whilst they attempted to recover the reptiles.

“The original flight from Toronto had come from Cuba, and one of the guests on board was going through customs when they discovered he had an iguana with him,” she said. “The man said he’d had four iguanas with him but they could only find two, so Canadian Border Services alerted us that there were possibly two iguanas in the cargo hold.”

According to Stewart, any animals loose on the plane can endanger the aircraft as they can chew through wiring and cause fires. As a result, the plane was grounded whilst they conducted an extermination. The passengers on Flight 723 were then transferred to another aircraft to complete their journey to Vancouver.

All in all the delay lasted about 50 minutes and customers praised Westjet staff for their professionalism amid what they described as a “deeply weird” situation.


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Daniel Bettridge
Daniel is a former Vancouver City Editor for Daily Hive. A journalist and author with more than 10 years of experience, he has written for some of the world's leading publications including The Guardian, The Atlantic, and The Times.

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