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A security guard has been killed by a python near a luxury hotel on Indonesia's resort island of Bali, a hotel employee said.

The incident happened around 3am yesterday local time as the 4.5-metre long python was crossing a road near the Bali Hyatt hotel, said Agung Bawa, an assistant security manager at the hotel, which is closed for renovations until 2015.

The victim, Ambar Arianto Mulyo, a 59-year-old security guard at a nearby restaurant, had offered to help capture the snake, which had been spotted several times before near the hotel, located in Bali's Sanur area.

Mulyo managed to secure the snake's head and tail and put it on his shoulders, but the python wrapped itself around his body and strangled him to death, Bawa said.

People watching the incident were unable to help and called the police, who came but failed to save the man. The python escaped into nearby bushes, and police were still searching for it.

"It happened so fast," Bawa said. "We were sad because we could not do anything to help him."