1930: ‘Snakes on a bi-plane’: rattler attacks at 4,500 feet




In August 1930 several US newspapers reported a real life case of ‘snakes on a plane’. Henry ‘Happy’ Wiggins, a Kansas salesman and amateur pilot, was flying his biplane at 4,500 feet when a rattlesnake appeared in the cockpit. The terrified pilot grabbed the serpent and pitched it out of the plane – but not before being bitten on the hand and the arm:

“I jumped back,” said Wiggins, still violently ill from the effects of the snake’s poison, “but the snake jumped after me. I tried to grasp it and pitch it from the plane but it coiled and struck me twice before I finally was able to fling it away.”

While Wiggins was engaged in his unique battle with the rattler, the ship hurtled down, out of control. Wiggins [eventually] righted the ship and landed so hastily in a pasture that he almost wrecked the plane.

Farmers took the hapless Wiggins to a hospital, where he received treatment and was expected to make a full recovery. It was not established whether the snake had found its own way into the cockpit or been placed there deliberately. It is also unclear if Wiggins quoted Samuel L. Jackson (link NSFW).

Source: Gettysburg Times, August 27th 1930 and others. Content on this page is © Alpha History 2016. Content may not be republished without our express permission. For more information please refer to our Terms of Use or contact Alpha History.

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