South Asia

Mouse on Nepal Airlines jet delays Hong Kong flight

Nepal Airlines Boeing 757
Image caption Mice on planes are regarded as a safety hazard

A Nepal Airlines Boeing 757 has been grounded at Hong Kong's airport after a mouse was seen in the cockpit, an airline official has told the BBC.

Passengers face a second night in a hotel as efforts continue to trap the stowaway rodent.

Nepal Airlines general manager Sita Gurung said that the plane would have to remain in Hong Kong until the mouse was caught.

The airline said that the mouse posed a potential safety risk.

Ms Gurung said that it was capable of chewing the aircraft's cables and could unsettle some passengers.

The incident is the second embarrassment for the Nepalese airline this week, after the same plane was reportedly grounded for more than 11 hours at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport on Monday - also because of a mouse.

A similar incident happened in August in the Swedish capital Stockholm, when a mouse on board an SAS Airbus meant that 250 passengers were left stranded.

Two Delta Airlines flights from New York to London were cancelled in November 2009 after mouse sightings.

'Disgruntled relative'

The Kathmandu-bound flight, due to take off Tuesday evening, had to be cancelled after a mouse was reportedly spotted by pilots in the cockpit shortly before departure.

About 80 passengers were waiting to board the flight, Ms Gurung said, and so far all efforts to dispose of the mouse - using four traps - have been unsuccessful.

"We have made arrangements for all of the affected passengers to stay at hotels in Hong Kong," she said, adding that they will be flown home on another airline if the delay was "unduly long".

"Maybe the one seen in Hong Kong is a disgruntled relative of the one disposed of in Nepal," a delayed passenger was overheard to have joked.

During Monday's incident, all 133 passengers on board the Bangkok-bound flight were evacuated after a mouse was seen in a box of drinks, according to the Nepal-based newspaper Republica.

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