Passenger 'stung by scorpion' on United flight

Richard Bell - who was flying to Canada at the time - said staff were "fantastic" during Sunday's incident

Passenger 'stung by scorpion' on United flight

File photo. Picture by: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/PA Images

A man has described how a scorpion fell on his head and stung him during a business-class lunch on a United Airlines flight.

Richard Bell was flying from Houston, Texas, to Calgary in Canada when he said he felt something drop on his head.

"Something fell on my head so I grabbed it. I was hanging on to it and then I realised what it was," he said.

"My neighbour was a gentleman from Mexico and he said 'that's a scorpion, they're dangerous'. I dropped it on my tray and I went to grab it again and that's when I got stung.

"It stung me on the thumb, right next to my nail."

Mr Bell said the creature's surprise appearance caused "excitement" among passengers and crew.

He added: "I kind of flicked it on to the floor... then we covered it up with a cup so it wouldn't get around, and then got out of a chair and we hit it with a shoe."

Cabin crew flushed the scorpion's remains down the toilet.

Mr Bell said staff were "fantastic" during Sunday's incident and called doctors on the ground to make sure he was not in danger.

Emergency workers got on to the plane when it touched down in Calgary and he was given a clean bill of health.

"Border security came on the plane... the bad part was that we killed it and threw it in the toilet, and everyone wanted to see if it was dangerous or not," he said.

Mr Bell has now been given credit for another flight.

In a statement to CNN, the airline said: "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."

The incident comes as United Airlines tries to dig its way out of a public relations disaster over video of a doctor being dragged screaming from one of its planes.