- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 4, 2003

CHICAGO, March 4 (UPI) — Provedencio Rodriguez was really bugged on his flight home from Mexico City.

He was bitten by a scorpion en route.

Mexicana Flight 804 to O'Hare International Airport was cruising about 30,000 feet above central Illinois when Rodriguez said he felt a tickle on his ribs and then a sting on his back and a second on his hand.

"I began to notice that I wasn't able to hear what people were saying to me," the 70-year-old Addison man told Tuesday's Chicago Sun-Times. "I didn't think that I was going to die but I knew something was wrong."

Then he noticed his tongue felt thick and he couldn't talk.

Rodriguez ripped off his shirt, trapping the eight-legged critter and killing it. His son, Mauro, then took the bug and put it in a baggy.

As the flight finished its approached to O'Hare and the pilot radioed for paramedics to meet the plane, Rodriguez downed a tall cup of coffee to counteract the venom.

He was whisked to Resurrection Medical Center after being checked out at the airport.

A Mexicana spokeswoman said this is the first time any of the airline's passengers has been bitten by a scorpion on board. She said the plane was fumigated thoroughly before it left Mexico.

"Perhaps, it was brought on board in someone's carry-on luggage," spokeswoman Virginia Barclay told the Chicago Tribune. "It could have been brought on board in someone's clothing. It was a very small scorpion."

It wasn't a first for Rodriguez, however. He said he's bitten twice before.

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