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Tuesday, May 4, 1999 Published at 16:20 GMT 17:20 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Python kills snake charmer

Onlookers tried to distract the python

A snake charmer has been strangled by a python in northern Thailand.

Hie Kerdchoochuay had been asked to capture the python from a neighbour's home because of his snake charming skills.

He caught the snake in the house in the northern region of Uttaradit and was taking it home in a sack when he ran into villagers who asked to see it.

He took it out of the bag and wrapped it around his neck, but it tightened its grip and started to strangle him.

Policemen and the watching villagers lit a bonfire to try and distract the python but the 55-year-old man could not be saved.

Pythons kill their prey by squeezing them, constricting their ability to breathe in.

After the tragedy onlookers poked the snake with a bamboo stick to loosen its grip on its victim's neck.

Holding it by its neck, two men then managed to force the python back inside its sack.

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