Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Boy Swallowed by a Python

A 16-year old boy was found dead in Malaysia (*these photos may be from a previous incident in Indonesia, East Borneo - see comments 3, 5) after being swallowed by a 10 meter-long python. Camping in the jungle is always a risk, even on a school outing to a national park.  I don’t wish to name the national park to give it any bad press--I spend four wonderful days there and even used it for the setting for one of my short stories.  I once sketched out a story about a man on a death wish who gets swallowed by a python, so this story struck close to home.  Besides, this could happen anywhere where pythons live. 

In the late 1980’s, a man was attacked behind his rural house and the photo was on the front page of all the newspapers with the python wrapped around the man with its head over the man’s head and shoulders where it apparently became stuck—it was a rather large man.  (Yes, this was the inspiration for my story idea.)  I’ve also seen photos of a python trying to eat a wild boar.  So a boy would not be a too big of a problem.

I’ve also seen plenty of photos of children and adults being cut out of crocodiles, including one at a different national park taken days before I had visited there with my then 16-year old son, and we had even come upon crocodile on a trail; it was crossing an old river bed into the nearby sea.  The moment it saw us, it fled. It was either him or us.

At a third national park, a park ranger told us about how we had just missed a ferocious fight between a python and a proboscis monkey in plain view.  At the same park, as far as I know, a python still lives beneath a popular canteen feeding off the rats and perhaps a stray monkey or two.

In my 25 years of living here, I have heard plenty of stories of adults being killed by wild boars, elephants (they grab you by the trunk, throw you down and stomp on you) and of course tigers.

Anytime you go into the jungle and camp you’re at risk, but the odds of you seeing a python, a wild boar, an elephant, or a tiger are quite rare, let alone being attacked by one.  So don’t worry too much about it.  Enjoy the beauty, but also don’t take unnecessary risks.

As for me holding that crocodile, that wasn’t in the jungle or along a river but on the set of Anna and the King, also filmed in Malaysia  The handlers were right beside me along with a couple of edgy elephants that looked like they too wanted to have a go with me.

As a father of three boys, my heart goes out for the parents. This is an awful way for your child -- for anyone -- to die.
        Borneo Expat Writer

*Here is a more recent account of a man found inside a 7-meter long python in Indonesia.

 *** Here's the link to my website, to MPH online for orders for all three of my books, including my latest, Spirit of Malaysia and for Trois autres Malaisie.


Anonymous said...

That story has been circulating since the early days of the Internet. says it's false.

Borneo Expat Writer said...

Anonymous, I was informed it was a national park in Penisular Malaysia. As I stated, I have seen photos in the New Straits Times in Malaysia of a python attempting to swallow a full grown man. They have also been known to swallow proboscis monkeys in Borneo and these, with their potbellied stomachs are the size of large children, so it's plausible. And the crocodiles in Borneo regularly eat full grown men as reported in the Borneo Post and other newspapers. It's not an uncommon occurrence.

Anonymous said...

those two first picture, as far as I know, were taken from the incident in Sangatta, East Borneo, Indonesia, around 1999 or 2000, when 3 junior high school boys were playing in the jungle and attacked by python. two killed, one save. the boy was about 14 years old. so please, writer, pay attention to use the correct picture and not writing fake story. Malaysia is NOT Indonesia. Thanks

Borneo Expat Writer said...

Anonymous. Thank you for updating this. I was informed by the person who asked me to blog about it that it was Malaysia. It's interesting for me that its East Borneo since I live in Sarawak, the Malaysian part of Borneo. Glad to hear that the photos are genuine but sad that two boys died.

Anonymous said...

sorry, i meant first three picture. maybe you heard another similar story happened in Malaysia but clearly the picture were not taken from that incident. FYI, first, the victim just left school and played to the jungle when the incident happened. thats why he was wearing blue short pants, which was a part of national school uniform for junior high in Indonesia at that time. second, the vehicle number in the first picture was 2 consonants, 4 numbers and 2 consonants. that is Indonesia's vehicle number, possibly Balikpapan City serial number if I notice the last two consonants. Malaysia's vehicle number is only consonants at the beginning and number at the end.

Borneo Expat Writer said...

Good catch on the license plate, though it's pretty hard to read. I'm sure you're correct. Thanks. I'll see if I can amend the story or at least draw attention to comments, sooner