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Scorpion-stung man revisits airplane ordeal

Man offered 4,000 frequent flier miles and two round-trip tickets after incident
by: SUBMITTED PHOTO Jeff Ellis of West Linn took this photo of the scorpion that stung him on a flight from Seattle to Alaska.

A scorpion on an airplane stung a West Linn man flying from Seattle to Anchorage, Alaska.

No, it's not a sequel to Samuel L. Jackson's infamous 2006 action flick, Snakes on a Plane.

The real-life drama happened to Jeff Ellis on board a June 17 Alaska Airlines flight.

'Everybody I've talk to thinks it was incredible, unbelievable. I'm here to tell you, it was definitely there,' Ellis told Fox 12.

Ellis was trying to sleep on a red-eye flight when he felt something inside one of his sleeves. He brushed it aside without looking, thinking a small bug might be on his arm.

'Then I felt it crawling on me again,' he said. 'I picked my hand up and said, 'Oh my God, that's a scorpion.''

He quickly grabbed the arachnid with a napkin and showed it to his girlfriend.

'At first I didn't believe him,' Suzanne Foster said. 'But then I saw it. He held the napkin up for me to see and I saw the tail, wiggling. I pretty much jumped out of my seat.'

Foster called the flight attendant over as Ellis noticed his elbow burning.

He said it felt like he'd been stung by a bee.

Two doctors on board checked him out while the flight crew called for medics to meet the plane at the airport in Anchorage.

Foster kept her feet on the seat for the rest of the flight, refusing to put them on the ground.

'Never in a million years would I have thought a scorpion would have been on an Alaska Airlines flight headed to Alaska,' Ellis said.

The flight originated from Austin, Texas, where Alaska Airlines officials believe the scorpion got on board.

Based on photos he took of the arachnid, Ellis said he believes he was stung by a striped bark scorpion common in Texas.

'He got stung because he threatened it,' said Marshall Brooks, the assistant manager at House of Reptiles in Tigard. Marshall has worked with scorpions for several years at the store. 'Had he used something else to get it off with or just calmly tried to move it onto something else, it probably wouldn't have stung him.'

Brooks said bark scorpions are more venomous than emperor scorpions, which are the type commonly kept as pets. He said most people would experience minor pain from a bark scorpion unless they are allergic, in which case the sting might cause anaphylactic shock.

An Alaska Airlines spokeswoman said the airline has never found a poisonous creature like the scorpion on one of its flights before.

Ellis said he's been offered 4,000 frequent flier miles and two round-trip tickets to wherever the airline flies.

He said he is pleased with how the flight crew and the airline handled the situation.

Fox 12 contributed to this news story.