A worker at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport has been fired after otters and other wild animals were smuggled onto a flight bound for Taipei. The Bangkok Post reports that the employee failed to search a bag that went through an X-ray screening point at the airport, allowing its owners to carry it onto the Thai Vietjet flight.
According to the report, two foreign nationals carried the bag through Suvarnabhumi’s X-ray unit at around 1.45pm on Wednesday, October 4. CCTV footage shows that an contractor working for AOT Aviation Security failed to open the bag, despite a colleague who was monitoring the X-ray screen flagging it as suspicious.
The passengers then boarded the Thai Vietjet flight, which departed at around 3.30pm.
It’s understood that shortly after take-off, some of the animals, which included a host of wildlife, managed to escape the bag and proceeded to create chaos. The animals first came to the attention of those on board when a passenger walking to the toilet noticed what he thought was a rat.
Cabin crew then searched the aircraft and a member of staff managed to catch what was an otter, but not before he was bitten on the finger. Another crew member then found another otter under a passenger’s seat. When the crew made an announcement asking for the animals’ owners to identify themselves, a female passenger admitted they were hers.
On landing at Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport, officials found a bag under the woman’s seat, which contained more animals. Wildlife inspection chief Pakpong Pathong confirmed the animals were two otters, 20 Burmese star tortoises, a snake, a prairie dog, and two black giant squirrels.
The Bangkok Post reports that while the bag was found under the woman’s seat, none of the passengers claimed it once the flight had landed. However, it’s understood the woman is being questioned by Taipei police and could face a fine of up to 1.5 million baht.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post