When a passenger reported he thought he had spotted a rodent, the airplane turned back midway through its flight and returned to its city of departure. During a journey from Mumbai to London the passenger thought he saw a rat, and when reported to the flight crew the decision was made to return to Mumbai. After examining the aircraft an Air India spokesman said the search found no sign of it. G. P. Rao stated that “no rat was found in the original aircraft,” and added that the decision to turn back was in consideration of passenger safety. The 240 Air India passengers were later flown to London on a different flight.
The concern over a rodent being on board is genuine since rats can cause safety hazards if they were to chew through the mechanical wiring. Air India has experienced suspected rodent sightings before. Last July a flight from New Delhi to Milan was turned back because of a reported rat stowaway. This problem is not unique to Air India. Other airlines have also had reported sightings and flight interruptions. A Qantas flight was grounded after rats were found on board an aircraft back in 2011. In that instance a nest of baby rats was found. The rats were removed and exterminated.
Whether on the great sailing ships of the past or our modern jet aircraft of today it seems that our rodent friends are still trying to hitch a ride and be our travel companions, and cause inconvenience, added expense and potential danger as well. If you have a rodent problem of your own make sure to contact a pest control professional. If located in California contact Innovative Pest Solutions!