The departure of Air India’s AI 923 flight to Riyadh was delayed by more than four hours last evening after a rat was spotted in the aircraft, airport officials said on Thursday.

A passenger noticed the rat when the Thiruvananthapuram-Kozhikode-Riyadh flight was ready to take off at 3 p.m. The passengers were asked to disembark and the airline authorities carried out fumigation to trace the rat.

It was finally caught after a three-hour search and the flight took off at 7.35 pm, they said.

The flight that arrived from Riyadh at 1.35 p.m, had 160 passengers bound for Kozhikode and 115 Riyadh-bound passengers had checked in at the airport here.