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Mice on a plane

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By Unal Basusta | Jan 09, 2008

Mice on a plane

(eTN) - As many as eight dead and live mice were found on a United Airlines (UA) flight from Washington to Beijing, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) said Monday.

United had reported to the Beijing Capital International Airport on Sunday afternoon after its arrival that they found live mice on flight UA897, so an emergency team was immediately dispatched to the aircraft. All the entries to the plane were shut down for further examination.

The team put rat poison and mice traps at every possible corners on the aircraft, including the cockpit.

Eight mice, dead and alive, were found hidden in pillows. Live mice had been sent to labs for virus test.

Experts said that mice could spread more than 35 fatal viruses, including plague spot and ship fever. In addition, they might bite circuits of the plane, and cause deadly accidents.

The team also commented that it was very rare to find so many mice on one aircraft.

This was not the first time a US airline is caught tangled in a rat mess. In 2006, a hidden camera showing mice on an American Airlines airplane surfaced. According to ksdk.com, the video, which surfaced last year, was shot by a long-time employee at the overhaul base at Kansas City International Airport. The whistleblower did not want to be identified but did want to expose a hidden secret onboard an American Airlines Boeing 767 passenger plane.

Federal Aviation Administration records show that on May 5, 2006, a caller reported a mouse infestation on an American Airlines airplane claiming that mice chewed through two wires, and that American Airlines was doing nothing about eradicating the mice, reported ksdk.com.

Then on May 10, 2006, a caller reported that mice were building nests near the oxygen generators. The whistleblower said, "Anywhere from 900 to 1,000 (mice) could be on this aircraft."

The Federal Aviation Administration sided with American Airlines saying the airline did nothing wrong because airlines do not have to report rodent infestations unless the rodents affect the mechanics.

Further, the FAA claimed that all insulation and oxygen masks on the American Airline plane in question had been replaced, and that the cargo bins have been removed and replaced and the wiring has been inspected.

For its part, American Airlines admitted that "N320 was an anomaly and while an occasional mouse has boarded, infestations simply don't happen," according to ksdk.com.

Watch the video here: http://www.ksdk.com/video/default.aspx?aid=36192&bw



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