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'Gum Wrapper' Blamed for Flier's Pain Was Not a Gum Wrapper

Canadian student was stung by scorpion on Air Transat flight from Toronto to Calgary
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2019 7:49 AM CDT
You know, we might prefer the snakes.   (Getty Images/lamyai)

(Newser) – If you're seated next to Quin Maltais on a future flight, forgive her if she's a little jumpy. That's because the Canadian student recently had another seatmate—an unwelcome one—on a recent Air Transat flight from Toronto to Calgary. On that Feb. 26 flight, Maltais initially dismissed what the CBC describes as a "fluttering motion" on her lower back, thinking maybe it was a draft from the plane's AC. That movement, however, soon turned into a "piercing pain." "Oh, my God, something bit me," she recalls thinking. Maltais couldn't take her seatbelt off right away, as the plane was landing, but once it touched down and the lights came back on, she got up and peered into the seat—and spotted a scorpion "in the fold toward the back of the chair."

A flight attendant Maltais summoned at first thought a gum wrapper in the seat had been what had poked Maltais, but then she, too, saw the scorpion. Maltais figures the critter, which she says was about 4 inches long, had been in her sweater for a half-hour or so. The airline confirms to CTV News the incident happened as the plane was descending into Calgary, and that Maltais received paramedic attention at the airport after the plane landed; she wasn't injured. The scorpion was captured after all the passengers had left the aircraft. In a statement to the CBC, an Air Transat rep calls the situation an "extremely rare" one and says the plane has since been fully checked and exterminated, though the airline hasn't said how the creature is believed to have snuck into the cabin of Maltais' flight. Maltais, for her part, says "I definitely will check under my seat" each time she flies now. (Read more scorpion stories.)

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