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Loose tarantulas cause chaos aboard Punta Cana – Montreal flight

Punta Cana, DR.-  Two tarantulas escaped from a passenger’s bag aboard an Air Transat flight from Punta Cana to Montreal, causing panic amongst passengers, which made some of them want a refund from the Canadian airline.

According to CBC News, passengers were standing on their seats while flight attendants advised them to cover their ankles.

“I was wearing a skirt and a spider crawled up my leg. My husband managed to catch the spider in a plastic container, but it wriggled its legs out. My daughter was crying, she was in shock,” Catherine Moreau of Quebec told Radio-Canada.

Entomologist Etienne Normandin told the CBC that the spiders were likely a species called Phormictopus cancerides that’s common in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. He suspects someone brought them in a carry-on in order to later sell them as pets.

It’s legal to import live spiders into Canada, though the country requires people to report what the are bringing, according to Radio Canada. It’s unclear what Air-Transat’s policy on transporting arachnids is, and the company did not immediately respond to The Huffington Post’s query about the rules.

Flight attendants “did what they could to calm people down,” Julie Roberts, vice-president of Air Transat’s flight attendant union, told the CBC.

But even so, Moreau said that her daughter has had continued nightmares (and now we are, too) and that the airline failed to send her a report identifying the spiders species, in case she suffered any subsequent health issues from the arachnid scratching her. Air Transat is not commenting on that allegation, spokeswoman Debbie Cabana told HuffPost.  But she did tell the CBC that staff “reacted promptly and efficiently” and that in the future, they’ll be prepared with a “clear procedure.”

A spokesperson told the Guardian that the event was “extraordinary and isolated.” (That’s obviously true, but these events aren’t totally unheard of. Last year, Delta grounded a flight from Baltimore to Atlanta after a baboon tarantula got loose in the cargo hold.)

It’s unclear what fate ultimately befell the tarantulas. We hope they’re OK.

Source: DT, Huffingtonpost

May 22, 2016

Category: DR News |

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Last updated December 4, 2016 at 1:52 AM
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