A Canadian man and his wife have received compensation from United Airlines after a scorpion fell from the overhead bin and stung him as he was eating lunch on a business-class flight.
“While I was eating, something fell in my hair from the overhead above me,” Richard Bell told the CBC. “I picked it up, and it was a scorpion. And I was holding it out by the tail, so it couldn’t really sting me then.”
A fellow passenger reportedly warned Bell that the insect could be dangerous.
“So I dropped it on my plate and then I went to pick it up again, and that’s when it stung me,” said Bell. “It got my nail, mostly.”
After it stung him, he flicked it to the floor where a flight attendant covered it with a cup.
“Then we got out of our seats and stepped on it. And then the flight attendants threw it in the restroom,” he said.
When the flight landed, medical personnel came to assist Bell and customs officials came onboard hoping to identify the scorpion, but it had already been flushed down the toilet.
“We don’t have 100% confirmation that it was indeed a scorpion or what exactly occurred there,” Adam Loria of Emergency Medical Services in Calgary reportedly said. “But in conversation with this passenger, he believed that it was. He believed that he was either bitten or stung or what have you.”
The incident was later confirmed by United Airlines. “Our flight attendants helped a customer who was stung by what appeared to be a scorpion,” an airline spokesperson said in an email to the Guardian. “Our crew immediately consulted with a MedLink physician on the ground who provided guidance throughout the incident and assured our crew that it was not a life-threatening matter.”
Bell’s claim comes at a contentious time for United Airlines. The company has dominated global headlines after videos showing a man being dragged from an overbooked Chicago flight sparked uproar on social media.
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