Escaped Hamster Forces Plane to Land

It wasn't "Snakes on a Plane," but an Austrian Airlines jet made an unscheduled stop as a precaution Friday after a passenger sneaked a hamster aboard and the rodent escaped.

The flight from Palma de Mallorca, Spain, to the southern Austrian city of Graz made a stop in Innsbruck so officials could search for the furry stowaway and make sure it didn't gnaw through any cables, the airline said in a statement.

It said the flight was diverted after a passenger notified the crew that he had brought a hamster aboard and had lost track of the animal. Passengers were ordered off the plane, and some were taken by bus to Graz. It was not immediately clear how many people were aboard the disrupted flight.

CountryWatch: Austria

By mid-afternoon, a search of the aircraft still had not turned up any sign of the hamster, authorities said.

Austrian Airlines said the jet would remain grounded until the hamster was found "because it can't take off that way for safety reasons."