Snakes on a plane -- almost

March 27, 2011 at 4:36 PM

JAKARTA, March 27 (UPI) -- Authorities at Indonesia's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport say they have foiled an alleged attempt by two men to smuggle 40 pythons on a flight to Dubai.

"The officers caught two Kuwaitis trying to smuggle 40 reticulated pythons on an Emirates Airlines flight heading to Dubai on Friday afternoon," Airport operator P.T. Angkasa Pura II told The Jakarta Post Saturday.

Yaqub Ebrahim and Ali Hasan allegedly concealed the sedated pythons in their carry-on items but authorities at the international departure checkpoint discovered the animals, which were taken to the quarantine center.

"In the name of flight safety and security, no kind of animal is allowed to be brought onto aircraft without permission and special handling," technical director Salahudin Rafi said. "We usually place (the animals) in the cargo hold instead of the passenger cabin. In this case, pythons are among the animals banned."

Ebrahim and Hasan were detained for questioning.

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