Slippery customer

Lizard escapes and terrifies passengers on UAE-bound flight

A safety investigation has been launched after a lizard caused panic among travellers on a flight bound for Abu Dhabi.

The creature - which, contrary to initial reports, was not a baby crocodile - ran around the cabin of the EgyptAir Flight 916 from Cairo on Friday, airline officials said.

Reports put the extra passenger at between 15cm and 30cm in length. Wafa al Zahed, the general manager of EgyptAir in Abu Dhabi, told UAE daily The National that the reptile could have been stowed in the cargo hold before wriggling free.

"Maybe inside the cargo door," said Mr al Zahed. "In the cargo door there is baggage. Or maybe the animal came from some plant in the aircraft."

None of the passengers had admitted to taking the creature on board, he added.

He said that a final report into the incident was likely to be released next week.

He said it looked like a desert lizard known colloquially in Egyptian Arabic as a "borse".

News agency, WAM, said it was 1.44am when the EgyptAir cabin crew cornered the creature and alerted authorities on the ground.

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