They say bad things happen in threes, but maybe keep the United PR team in your thoughts anyway — following an incident in which United denied passengers entry onto the plane because they were wearing leggings, and the release of a viral video of a bloodied man being forcibly dragged off of an overbooked United flight, the airline is making headlines yet again. On a Sunday flight from Houston to Calgary, a scorpion allegedly dropped from an overhead bin and stung a passenger, marking a third viral story for United this month. Bustle has contacted United for a statement about the alleged incident, and received word from a United spokesperson:
Our flight attendants helped a customer who was stung by what appeared to be a scorpion on a flight last week. 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. Medical personnel met the aircraft after it arrived in Calgary. We are reaching out to the customer to apologize and discuss the matter.
According to passenger Richard Bell, who was coming home from a two-week vacation with his wife Linda, he first noticed what he alleges was a scorpion when it fell into his hair. He told Global News Canada that at first they didn't know what it was, describing it as honey-colored and about an inch and a half in length. A fellow passenger pointed out that it was likely a scorpion. Bell said he dropped it onto his tray, and when he attempted to pick it back up, it stung him. He told Global News Canada it "felt like a wasp sting".
It is unclear just how the alleged scorpion got on the flight, but there are 20 varieties of them that are native to Houston — and because they try to conserve water, they frequently flock to cool, moist, and contained spaces out of the sun. Although their stings are rarely fatal, they are painful, and can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms, including muscle spasms, swelling, breathing problems. They are especially dangerous to people who may also be allergic to bee stings, as they affect people who are sensitive to anaphylactic shock the most.
Bell said that the alleged scorpion on the United flight was stomped on and flushed down the airline toilet before they landed, which may have been the wrong move — although Bell is fine following the alleged stinging, in the event of incidents like this, medical professionals want to be able to see whatever it was that stung or bit someone in order to treat them most effectively. Hopefully, though, there won't be any more scorpions trying to "fly the friendly skies" any time soon.