The cobra bit Bule on the thigh. Though Bule was immediately offered an antidote by the snake handler, she refused it and continued to sing. A short while later, however, the poison took effect.
“The effects were felt 45 minutes after the bite,” a witness said. “She vomited, had seizures, and her body was seized.”
Bule was immediately taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Bule preformed the musical style dangdut, which often includes using props and incorporating spectacle into routines. Dangdut performers often come from low-income families and get paid poorly for their shows.
According to another singer, Yeyen, the girls get paid around $20 per show, but earn an additional $5 if they have a snake. “If there are snake dancers, there will be more audience. Therefore, we have snake dancers,” Yeyen said.
The performers often did routines like the one Bule did here:
“My daughter might not have known that the snake that was given to her for the show was a dangerous cobra. She was told she could wear it, even though its mouth was not closed with duct tape,” Encum said.
In all previous performances, all snakes, regardless of venom strength, had their mouths taped shut. No news has surfaced as to why this particular snake–one of the deadliest species of snake in the world–did not have its mouth taped like the others.
“I and her family are still trying to find out exactly what went wrong for our youngest child to die like this. We are waiting for the organizers of the show to tell us,” said Encum.
Bule had been married and had three children with her husband.