Social enterprise CEO Ian Jones was hospitalised for three weeks in northern India last year after being bitten by a black king cobra.
The 50-year-old, who lives in the village of Niton on the Isle of Wight, passed in and out of a coma and was given anti-venom, oxygen and CPR in order to survive.
Doctors told him he was incredibly lucky to survive the double bite from the king cobra – which has enough venom in one bite to kill 20 men.
The father-of-two is now permanently blind from the effects of the bite, but has slowly regained full feeling and movement in his legs.
Despite the devastating effects of the horrific attack, Ian will return to India this Sunday for work.
He had been working in the village of Narnadi, in the Jodhpur district of the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan, when he caught Covid for the second time in November last year.
Ian was then bitten by the first snake he had ever encountered in his four years visiting and working in the country.
“I was in my room five days after testing positive when I realised I hadn’t eaten for four or five days, so I went into the kitchen and put a ready meal in the microwave,” Ian said.
“I had to sit down on the sofa because my head began spinning, and our adopted dog Rocky came rushing in barking with this petrified bark I had never heard before. I leaned over to pet him but didn’t realise there was a cobra curled up under the sofa.”
The cobra struck him twice, Ian said, right on the back of his hand.
“The bites were not as painful as you might think at first; it is a temporary pain like when you step on a nail – but then the venom starts working quickly,” Ian recalled.
“Once I realised it was a cobra I got up off the sofa, because Rocky had put himself between me and the snake.
“The cobra was upright and performing its’ dance – ready to strike again.
“Having grown up in Australia as a young boy, the first thing I knew to do was to take a photo of the snake to show to doctors at the hospital which snake had bitten me.”
Ian managed to send a WhatsApp message to some workers, and Ian said some people turned up five minutes later.
“We needed to catch the snake first, but by this time I was feeling really light headed,” he said. “The pain was excruciating up my arm, and I had put a tourniquet on it to stop the venom spreading.
He remembered sending messages to his family in the car on the way to the hospital, including one to his wife which said something like ‘’Hi love, don’t worry but I have just been bitten by a snake.”
Ian was rushed to the local village hospital, where colleagues had to purchase the correct anti-venom from stores outside the hospital.
He spent the following days slipping in and out of a coma in three hospitals, and was also given CPR several times to restart his heart.
Eight days later he was transferred from a covid ward into intensive care at the largest hospital in Jaipur, the state capital. In the new ward, Ian spoke to his family for the first time since the bite – including his two sons Michael and Seb, both in their twenties.