An Indonesian pop star collapsed onstage after being bitten by a venomous snake during a performance.
According to the U.K. Daily Mail, singer Irma Bule was performing in Karawang, West Java, when she inadvertently stepped on the tail of a King Cobra snake she had been using for a prop. The cobra immediately reacted and sank its fangs into her thigh.
The video began with Bule performing her song when she suddenly jerked and reached toward the snake latched to her leg. A snake handler quickly came to her aid.
Moments passed as the handler worked to remove the reptile’s fangs from her flesh. Bule was seen sitting still but clearly was in distress from the bite.
Bule refused the antivenin offered by the snake handler and continued performing for 45 minutes. Backstage, however, just as she was joking that she felt no pain from the bite, she collapsed, began vomiting and seizing. She was transported to a local hospital where she was later confirmed dead.
The singer was known for using snakes in her performances, a fact that reportedly set her apart from other singers in her genre. Previously she had used boa constrictors and pythons that had been de-fanged and their mouths taped shut for extra security.
Bule’s mother, Encum, said that the event organizers for her Karawang show provided the cobra and told Bule she could wear it like any other snake despite the fact its mouth was not taped shut. She was reportedly under the impression it too had been de-fanged.
“My daughter might not have known that the snake that was given to her for the show was a dangerous cobra,” Encum said. “She was told she could wear it, even though its mouth was not closed with duct tape.”
Police are investigating the incident and have asked any audience members to come forward with information. Bule leaves behind a husband and three children.
Bule’s death is a tragic example of what happens when humans arrogantly presume that dangerous reptiles can be used as a gimmick without consequence. Regardless of the circumstances, snakes should be respected, if for no other reason than for the danger they can pose when provoked.
Watch the full video here (WARNING: Contains content some may find disturbing):