DISTRESSING video shows a circus trainer slumping to the ground in front of horrified parents and kids after being reportedly strangled to death by a huge snake during his act.
The audience are said to have believed at first it was part of the performance until the man began writhing in the ring and other circus workers rushed to his aid.
Authorities in Russia were today seeking to verify the location of the act which was not reported to police.
The shocking video shows the circus trainer going into the ring with a large snake – described as a python or boa constrictor – and acknowledges applause from watching children and parents as he wraps the reptile around his neck.
The snake tamer, who has not yet been named, appeared to handle the snake confidently before suddenly falling to his knees and then flat on the ground.
DESPERATELY SIGNALLED FOR HELP
The shocking video shows the performer gesturing several times with his right hand, desperately signalling for help.
Within seconds, his arm movements got weaker and weaker.
Members of the circus team eventually come and pull the snake off him but by then the man appears seriously injured.
The audience then began to realise the circus trainer is in trouble, with some reports even claiming the snake tamer was killed in the ordeal.
The performer’s body appears limp, and the two team members are clearly fearful over his condition.
Guitar music from Belarus played during the performance by what is believed to be one of many travelling circuses touring around Russia.
When the video surfaced, reports said that it took place in Dagestan, a republic in southern Russian beside the Caspian Sea.
CONFLICTING LOCAL REPORTS
Voice of Dagestan news group reported: “It happened at a circus either in Makhachkala (city) or Kizilyurt (town).
“The python strangled the young man. The incident took place in the autumn, but the video emerged only yesterday.”
Another Dagestan outlet reported it was at a circus in Makhachkala, the regional capital, adding: “The python killed this lad.”
But police in the region said no such incident had been registered with them.
“It never happened with us,” said a police source.
“We deny this fact.”
The source added: “According to the authors of the video, the male trainer was killed.
“But we would like to believe that young man received help in time and survived.”
Pro-Kremlin REN TV later claimed the incident was 2,700 miles away in the Siberian city of Barnaul, but locals swiftly denied this, saying they had no such location as shown in the video.
Popular Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda then suggested the circus was in Alexandrov town, Vladimir region, 76 miles northeast of Moscow.
The report claimed it was “most likely” the shocking tragedy happened here.
Police were urgently seeking to verify where and when the incident took place, and the fate of the performer.
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