Annie Simone was stung on the middle finger of her right hand after a surprised male passenger on the Portland-bound Alaska Airlines flight somewhat ungallantly flicked the eight-legged intruder off his shoulder and onto the woman.

“It was definitely a burn-sting feeling. It all happened so quickly,” said Ms Simone, as reported by She quickly killed the scorpion: “I felt it needed to die,” she laughed. “I’m a really kind person but I murdered it.” 

The aircraft was forced to return to the gate so that the victim could be checked out by paramedics while flight staff searched overhead lockers for further unwanted arachnids.

It is not clear how the scorpion got on the plane, but the flight had arrived in Los Angeles from Los Cabos, in Mexico, where the creatures are prevalent.

The Oregon State University men’s and the University of Portland’s women’s basketball teams were both on board the flight. Oregon coach Wayne Tinkle told ESPN that Ms Simone had been sitting two rows in front of him. “The woman was a real champ,” he said. “She acted like it was a mosquito bite. They got it off her, but the needle was stuck.”

Ms Simone had been due to visit family in Portland, but decided to abandon the trip and return home after being stung.

There around 1500 species of scorpion, but only 30 or so can inflict lethal stings. In most cases stings are painful, but not deadly, to healthy adults. Some scorpions carry venom which is being tested for the possible treatment of cancer and other illnesses. A gallon of venom from some species can be worth millions of dollars.