(Gray News) – A scorpion stung a passenger aboard an Air Transat flight in what the airline called “an extremely rare situation.”
Quin Maltais, a woman from Yukon who’s studying in Alberta, was taking the flight from Toronto to Calgary on Feb. 26, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reports.
In the last hour of the flight, Maltais started feeling what she described as a fluttering motion on her lower back, which she at first thought was the air conditioning.
“I just kind of ignored it,” she said.
But then she felt “piercing pain” on her lower back, just as the plane was about to land.
Maltais started to panic and grabbed at her sweater – but she wasn’t supposed to take off her seat belt because the plane was landing.
“The lights turned on, I looked into the ball of bundled sweater that I had, but nothing was there. I looked behind me on the seat and then I saw movement, and there was a scorpion that was in the fold toward the back of the chair.”
She ripped off her seat belt, leapt onto her armrest and stared at the scorpion, trying to process what just happened.
"There was a scorpion in my sweater. It was on my back for the past 30 minutes,” she said. “It was like four inches, maybe.”
Maltais called a flight attendant for help. The flight attendant checked her seat and found a gum wrapper. She told Maltais that’s what she’d felt.
Maltais told the flight attendant to check again. She saw the scorpion between the seats the second time around.
Paramedics then escorted Maltais off the plane.
"I had a full-fledged panic attack,” she said. “Paramedics had to kind of keep me strapped to a heart monitor for a while because I was just unable to calm down."
EMS confirmed they assessed Maltais, but said she wasn’t hurt.
Air Transat said they caught the scorpion and handed it over to airport authorities after passengers had disembarked.
They didn’t say how or where the scorpion might have gotten aboard.
"Although this is an extremely rare situation, it can unfortunately occur,” an Air Transat spokesperson told CBC in an emailed statement. “Our teams followed the protocols in place and a complete inspection of the aircraft, as well as an extermination process, were carried.”
Maltais said she’s shaken up by the scorpion encounter, but she doesn’t plan on letting it stop her from traveling.
“Not so keen to go on a plane for a while, but definitely will not stop traveling,” she said. “I definitely will check under my seat.”