A popular singer in Indonesia died on Monday after performing with a king cobra, which bit her half-way through a show. According to The Mirror, 29-year-old pop star Irma Bule was performing in Karawang, West Java with a variety of snakes, including the king cobra that delivered the fatal bite. Snakes were something of a trademark with Bule and she often went to shows draped in the slithery creatures. Those close to Bule said that she usually worked with de-fanged snakes, so there was little danger of a venomous bite. De-fanged snakes still bite instinctively.
However, it seems that not all of the snakes she performed with on Monday were de-fanged.
“The accident happened in the middle of the second song when Irma stepped on the snake’ s tail,” an audience member told local reporters. “The snake then bit Irma on her thigh,”
You can watch footage from the show below. Content may be graphic for some:
Bule continued with the show for about 45 minutes and then collapsed. Witnesses recalled the singer vomiting uncontrollably and going into seizures. She was taken to a hospital where she later died. Bule’s mother, Encum, said that the family is looking into why the snake was not de-fanged or otherwise wrapped in duct tape, as is standard with these types of performances.
“My daughter might not have known that the snake that was given to her for the show was a dangerous cobra, Encum told Si Momot. “She was told she could wear it, even though its mouth was not closed with duct tape.”
Some have placed the blame on the show’s organizers, who provided the king cobra. King cobras are the world’s longest venomous snakes. It has a fierce reputation and is widely feared across its native range in Southeast Asia. Typically though, king cobras will attempt to flee rather than defend itself and stories regarding its ferocity are widely exaggerated. The snake will bite if pressed into a corner, and its venom is extremely potent. A bite from a king cobra has been documented to kill even an adult elephant within hours.
Definitely not the safest of stage props.