Spider bites are nasty business. As much as nerds the world over would like a spider bite to be from a radioactive spider that will lead to them becoming a web-slinging, crime-fighting vigilante, most spider bites are either harmless or potentially deadly.

Jonathon Hogg, a 40-year-old barrister from North London, was on a flight from Qatar to South Africa in June when he was bitten on the leg. “I was struggling to get comfortable during the journey and crossed my legs to get into a better position when I felt a small, sharp pain radiating in my left leg,” he told The Guardian. “The pain was like nothing I’ve been through in my life.”

Within hours, his leg grew to the size of a balloon and turned black. By the time he reached the hospital, the wound had burst open. “By the time I got to hospital my leg was bursting open, there was pus, it was black,” Hogg said. “It was a right mess. They told me if I had been any later I would have lost my leg or even died. It was terrifying.”

Spider bite
A man bitten by a brown recluse spider had his leg burst open. Photo courtesy of Slater and Gordon (UK) LLP

The most interesting part was, at first, Hogg thought nothing of the wound. He took some painkillers and it wasn’t until the next day that his friends thought it might be a spider bite. So, he was rushed into surgery, where doctors removed a large portion of his leg where the venom had essentially eaten his flesh. Doctors said that the bite came from a brown recluse spider, and told him that if he had waited any longer, the bite could have taken his leg or his life.

Hogg is currently considering suing Qatar Airways, which he says has yet to claim responsibility.