**WARNING: EXPLICIT CONTENT BELOW**
Confusing and contradictory reports coming out of Russia suggest the circus animal trainer has been killed.
The reports are backed up with the distressing video that appears to show a man performing with a large reptile – seemingly a python or boa constrictor – which suddenly overpowers him.
With the audience apparently under the impression that it’s all part of the act he falls to his knees and gestures frantically for help.
But as adults and young children look on, his arm movements become weaker and weaker.
Members of the circus team eventually come and pull the snake off him but by then the man appears to be seriously injured.
Suddenly there are gasps from the audience as they realise the performer is in grave trouble.
Some reports claim that the snake tamer was killed in the incident.
“We would like to believe that young man received help in time and survived.”
Certainly, at the end of the incident the performer’s appears limp and unresponsive, and his co-workers appear gravely concerned.
When the video first emerged, reports said that the incident took place in Dagestan, a semi-autonomous Russian republic on the Caspian Sea.
Even then, local news agency Voice of Dagestan was unable to state definitively whether the snake attack occurred in the city of Makhachkala or 40 miles away in the town of Kizilyurt.
According to the report: “The python strangled the young man.
“The incident took place in the autumn, but the video emerged only yesterday.”
Another Dagestan news outlet, which confidently places the accident in the regional capital Makhachkala, states “The python killed this lad.”
However police in the region said that they had received no reports of the circus performer’s death: “It never happened with us,” said a police source.
“We deny this fact.”
The source added: “According to the authors of the video, the male trainer was killed.
“But we would like to believe that young man received help in time and survived.”
Adding to the confusion, Pro-Kremlin REN TV later claimed the circus performer was killed by a snake was 2,700 miles away in the Siberian city of Barnaul, but locals swiftly denied this, saying that the location shown does not match any scenery in the region.
Yet another report, from major newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, suggests that the circus in question was actually in the town of Alexandrov,76 miles northeast of Moscow.
The report claimed it was “most likely” the shocking tragedy happened here.
Russian police are tonight understood to be urgently seeking to determine where and when the incident took place, and the fate of the performer.