Air India flight turns back over rat scare

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MUNBAI, India–Snakes on a plane? How about a rat?

An Air India flight was forced to turn back during its journey from Mumbai to London after a rodent was reportedly spotted on board, the airline said.

A passenger thought they saw the critter on the flight, but the airline said a search of the plane found no sign of it.

“No rat was found in the original aircraft,” airline spokesman G.P. Rao said. He added that the decision to turn back was for passenger safety.

The flight’s 240 passengers were later flown to London on another plane.

Rats can cause safety hazards if they chew through mechanical wires.

It is not Air India’s first suspected rat stowaway incident. One of their aircraft was forced to return to New Delhi during a flight to Milan in July because of a rat report.

Nor is a rodent problem unique to Air India.

In 2011, a Qantas flight was grounded after baby rats were found on board. They were removed and exterminated.