Two bad-tempered Australians caused anxious moments for the crew of a Royal New Zealand Air Force Hercules.
Saltwater crocodiles Scar, from the Northern Territory, and Goldie, from Cairns in Queensland, were airborne on their way to a new life at Manukau’s Butterfly Creek Zoo when they broke their head restraints, zoo general manager John Dowsett said.
“It was a bit fraught … Two of them broke their head-ropes and began thrashing around. The plane was shaking. The pilot was turning and raising his eyebrows.
“We gave them a muscle relaxant to calm them down. But they’re big animals – when they do move, there’s an impact. There’s a lot of power there.”
The crocodiles eventually calmed down, and the flight landed at Whenuapai Airbase about midnight on Tuesday.
The Air Force Hercules was used to fly the crocs as it was the only available plane with enough room and it was returning to New Zealand from Asia, via Darwin.
Butterfly Creek, which is at Auckland Airport, was not charged for the flight, but Mr Dowsett hopes to host Air Force staff for a meal to thank them for their help.
Scar and Goldie will spend two weeks in quarantine at Butterfly Creek before beginning new roles as the stars of a saltwater crocodile exhibit. …