Cobra spits venom into Disaster Prevention officer’s eyes in northeast Thailand (clip)

Photo via ThaiRath

A Siamese spitting cobra spat venom into the eyes of a Disaster Prevention officer in Nakhon Ratchasima province in northeast Thailand yesterday. Rescue officers responded quickly and managed to save his life and eyesight.

At 7.40pm, the Hook 31 Rescue Unit was informed that someone was spat at by a cobra at Ban Tanot Village, Moo 2, Ban Pho subdistrict, Mueang district, reports ThaiRath.

Rescue workers rushed to the scene where they found 49 year old Kriengsak Klang – a Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Officer stationed in Ban Pho – in unbearable pain. On the floor lay a dead 1-metre-long Siamese spitting cobra (Naja siamensis).

Responders put Kriengsak into an ambulance and rushed him to Maharat Nakhon Ratchasima Hospital. Along the way, rescue workers washed out Kriengsak’s burning eye with saltwater – a move that ultimately saved him from going blind.

With bandages covering his left eye, Kriengsak told reporters what happened. He said that he was taking a shower before his night shift yesterday when his colleague asked him to help catch a snake inside a villager’s home.

Kriengsak jumped out of the shower, grabbed his snake-catching gloves, and hurried to the scene. As soon as he arrived, he found the cobra lying on a broom. He used pliers to grip the snake’s body and passed the pliers to his colleague.

As Kriengsak attempted to catch the snake’s head, the cobra spat venom into his eye. Kriengsak rang 1669 straight away and asked for advice about what action to take. Kriengsak was told to wash his eyes with salt water and get to a hospital as soon as possible.

The injured man further explained that being a Disaster Prevention officer, he has caught snakes on hundreds of occasions. He said most snakes in the area are cobras, but pythons are found on occasion. He said he has caught many cobras in his life.

Kriengsak said that because he was in a hurry, he didn’t bring all of the personal protective equipment he usually wears to catch a venomous cobra. Usually, he wears a mask or glasses to protect his eyes from spitting cobra venom. Now he remembers why. No matter how many snakes you’ve caught, you’re never immune to cobra venom.

The snake catcher said he wants to warn people never to attempt to catch a snake on their own. He said that even he, someone with a lot of experience with snakes, still managed to get hurt.

If you travel to or live in Thailand, you’ll need to learn what to do if you get bitten by a snake.

Northern Thailand News

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.