A BRIT dad has been blinded and left paralysed after being bitten by a King Cobra while battling his second bout of coronavirus.
Ian Jones is now being treated in intensive care after the terrifying snake attack in an Indian village in Rajasthan.
The Isle of Wight man, who helps import fairly traded crafts, has been at death's door since he suffered the poisonous bite, say his family.
He is now facing mounting medical bills and his charity – Sabirian – has started a GoFundMe drive to pay for his care so they can bring him home.
Ian's son Seb said: “Dad is a fighter, during his time out in India he had already suffered from Malaria and Dengue Fever even before COVID-19.
He added: "And yet he had remained resolute in his determination to stay in the country and continue his work help the people that needed his support.
“He had not been able to travel home due to the pandemic and as a family we understood his desire to continue to support the many people who relied on him.
"We were naturally concerned about him though and then when we heard he had also suffered what is usually a fatal snake bite on top of all that he had been through, we honestly could not believe it.
“It really has been touch and go, he is stable at the moment although he has paralysis in his legs and blindness, both of which we hope is temporary.
"But it is clear he is going to need to remain in hospital out there for some time to come.
"We are extremely grateful to his colleagues there who have been brilliant and rallied around him in his time of need, as indeed he did for them.”
Ian suffered the potentially fatal bite whilst at his Jodhpur base, where many of the local craftsmen and women that Sabirian support live and work.
Just how dangerous is the King Cobra?
The King Cobra is one of the most venomous snakes on the planet and can literally "stand up" and look a full-grown person in the eye.
When confronted, they can lift up to a third of its body off the ground and still move forward to attack.
They can measure up to 18ft in length and can deliver enough venom in a single bite to kill 20 humans or even bring down an elephant.
King Cobra venom affects the respiratory centers in the brain, causing respiratory arrest and cardiac failure.
The snakes live mainly in the rainforests and plains of India, southern China, and Southeast Asia.
He had moved out of the city so that he could continue to provide support during the pandemic and, because of travel restrictions, has been unable to travel home to his family on the Island.
Owned by Community Action Isle of Wight, Sabirian provides opportunities for around 70 Indian craftspeople aged between 18-87.
It works to help them trade their way out of poverty by providing training and help to import and sell their crafts and furniture in the UK in a sustainable and ethical way.
Mike Bulpitt, CEO of the charity said: “Ian has put so much on the line to continue to support the people out in India that he works with, living in difficult conditions and being away from his own family and friends on the Island for most of the year.
"He is now facing a long road to recovery and we are appealing for any fundraising support people can give to help us meet his medical costs, until he can eventually be brought home.
"We hope that he will soon be able to get back to the work he loves and to supporting those that need him, but right now he needs all our help to get through this battle to survive."
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