Spiderman captures creepy-crawly
ROYAL NAVY aircraft engineers from 845 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) got an unwelcome surprise as they prepared to work on one of their aircraft. Petty Officer (PO) Alex ‘Scotty’ Scott and Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Daryl ‘Daz’ Prichard were about to pick up some tools when, luckily for them, they spotted a deadly Black Widow spider.
Alex explained how he captured the creepy crawly, “I approached the spider, which was about 22 mm in diameter, in a typical curious-boy manner, as you do. As I moved in to examine it, the spider became startled and agitated and began to scurry around - revealing the bright red hour glass patch on its belly. The aircraft I was working on had recently returned from a detachment to El Centro, California, so alarm bells started to ring. It didn’t take long to recognise it as a female Black Widow as we had previously received a desert safety brief in California. Alarmingly we were told the female black widow's bite is particularly harmful to humans because of its unusually large venom glands.”
The spider was assumed to be a ‘stowaway’ that had somehow survived the sterilisation process, or ‘bug-bombing’ as it is colloquially known, our aircraft and equipment undergo prior to their return to the UK. Thinking quickly, the two engineers captured the dangerous Black Widow in order to preserve it for official species identification.
Alex continues: “After realising what we were dealing with, we used an element of skill and considerable daring to capture our stowaway rather than squashing it. Having secured the offending beast in a jar we informed the relevant agencies so professionals could verify exactly what type of spider it was.”
The discovery led to the hangar being fully fumigated, after which a male Black Widow and an egg pouch were found. The quick thinking of CPO Prichard and PO Scott, and the subsequent actions of Yeovilton’s safety team prevented a potential infestation of the unwanted spiders.
PHOTOS CROWN COPYRIGHT