Flight out of California canceled when rat boards the plane

By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |  Jan. 3, 2018 at 11:18 AM
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Jan. 3 (UPI) -- A plane scheduled to depart from a California airport was grounded when a rat was seen boarding the aircraft shortly before takeoff time.

Oakland International Airport spokeswoman Keonnis Taylor said Alaska Airlines Flight 915 had been scheduled to depart for Portland at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday, but the plane was evacuated when the rat was spotted.

"An Alaska Airlines aircraft departing Oakland International Airport was cancelled today due to reports of a mouse in the cockpit of the aircraft," Taylor told the San Jose Mercury News. "The flight's 110 passengers are being accommodated as appropriate by Alaska Airlines flights from San Francisco and San Jose airports."

Alaska Airlines said the rodent was not a mouse, as the airport reported, but rather a large rat.

The airline said the animal was first seen about 8:30 a.m.

"That's when a rat was spotted jumping from the jet way to inside the aircraft," the airline said. "Any passengers onboard the aircraft were deplaned."

Passengers were put on other flights, with some able to be accommodated Tuesday and others waiting until Wednesday.

"The plane is currently out of service," Alaska Airlines said. "It will be returned to operations once it's certified rodent-free by a professional exterminator. The aircraft will also be thoroughly inspected to ensure no damage has been done."

Passengers chronicled their misadventure on social media.

"Chose Oakland airport to evade @KarlTheFog at SFO but now delayed because a rat hijacked our plane. Departure time: unknown," passenger Ginger Hintz tweeted.

Hintz said passengers were given word at about noon that the flight was officially canceled. She said she was given a $12 food voucher and a ticket for a Tuesday night flight.

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