by Tim Fang

SAN FRANCISCO INT’L AIRPORT (CBS SF) — A flight from San Francisco International Airport to New York City was delayed Friday morning, after a pilot refused to run over a small snake that slithered onto the runway.

Delta Air Lines Flight 1859 to JFK International was scheduled to leave around 7 a.m.

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Moments before the plane was set to take off, the pilot told passengers that there was a 6-inch garter snake on the runway and that the pilot would wait until the snake could be safely removed.

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One passenger on posted on Twitter that the airport used sirens to scare the snake off the runway.

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The tower dispatched an airport safety officer who captured the snake, put it in a bag, and removed it from runway 1R. The worker brought the snake to nearby marshland, where it was set free.

One of the passengers told KPIX 5 via Facebook that it was simply a funny moment right before takeoff. Passengers were not inconvenienced and the plane landed in New York on time.

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A spokesperson for SFO told the New York Post that federal law requires airports to keep wildlife off runways and prevented the pilot from running over the snake. He said wildlife on the runway is “not agreeable to the safe operation of the aircraft.”