Shortly before the scheduled 10.30am take off of the Chicago-bound Airbus 330, a security guard spotted the mischievous mouse scurrying across the floor of the aircraft.
“Unfortunately the mouse has not been found and caught, despite an extensive search onboard and numerous mouse traps placed inside the aircraft,” SAS press officer Malin Selander told The Local on Tuesday afternoon.
“Due to safety concerns SAS has decided to ground the aircraft until the mouse has been caught.”
Airport officials may resort to using smoke to force the mouse out of the plane, for fear that it will get into the electronics and gnaw them apart, a witness told the Aftonbladet newspaper.
However, Selander told The Local that a decision about deploying extra measures to remove the mouse from the aircraft has yet to be taken.
As the search for the meandering mouse continues, the airline is struggling to rebook the 250 passengers left stranded due to the incident.
American travellers James Roach and Marie Alswager told The Local they have been waiting more than five hours in a line that is moving “six feet an hour”.
“Spirits [among stranded travellers] are understanding,” said Roach.
As the Airbus 330 is among the largest aircraft in the SAS fleet, finding a replacement has been difficult.
“This kind of incident has not happened to SAS before, but we are now aware that similar incidents have happened to other airlines,” said Selander.
A rodent running amok was the cause of the cancellation of two Delta Airline flights between New York and London in November 2009.
Although the current situation at Arlanda remained unresolved several hours after the mouse was discovered, Selander stated the airline sees no need for revising future safety measures.
“SAS already have an extremely high level of security precautions and checks, and do not foresee the need to improve these further,” she said.
Struggling to cope with the slow-moving line for re-booking, Roach employed a bit of hyperbole in an effort to make light of his predicament.
“This is the most expensive mouse in the history of humankind,” he joked.