A 27-year-old American who was trying to visit one of India’s remote islands reportedly was shot and killed by a bow and arrow by Sentinelese tribe members, police officials revealed on Wednesday.
John Allen Chau (pictured above) had visited Andaman and Nicobar islands before.
He was attempting to reach the North Sentinel Island, anonymous police officials revealed to Reuters.
But that island is heavily regulated by the Indian government — which strives to protect the isolated indigenous people from diseases and disruption.
Approximately 150 natives live on North Sentinel Island, AFP reported.
Hours before he was killed, he reportedly wrote in his journal, “God, I don’t want to die,” Fox News reported, according to journals his mother shared with The Washington Post.
The fishermen who illegally ferried Chau to the island last week said he died after tribesmen shot him with multiple arrows, as Reuters reported.
The tribesmen apparently left his body, which still remains on the island, on the beach. (Update: Reports now indicate locals buried his body on the island.)
“[Chau] tried to reach the Sentinel Island on November 14 but could not make it. Two days later, he went well prepared. He left the dingy midway and took a canoe all by himself to the island,” sources said, according to AFP.
“He was attacked by arrows but he continued walking. The fishermen saw the tribals tying a rope around his neck and dragging his body,” the sources added, noting that they “were scared and fled but returned [the] next morning to find his body on the seashore.”
A spokeswoman with the U.S. consulate in the Indian city Chennai told Reuters in an email, “We are aware of reports concerning a U.S. citizen in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.”
“When a U.S. citizen is missing, we work closely with local authorities as they carry out their search efforts,” the spokeswoman added.
Journalist Subir Bhaumik, who covers these Indian islands, told BBC Hindi that “it’s a difficult case for the police” because “you can’t even arrest the Sentinelese.”
One police source told Reuters that Chau was a Christian “preacher” and may have wanted to preach to the Sentinelese people.
Chau carried a Bible with him when he was ferried to the island, The New York Times reported.
Christian missionary activist John Allen Chau of Alabama was allegedly killed by Sentinelese tribals on Andaman Islands, India. The Sentinelese tribe are known to be the world’s last ‘uncontacted’ people which has a history of resisting contact with the outside world, police say. pic.twitter.com/X3ZuInqNUU
— Parthiban Shanmugam (@hollywoodcurry) November 21, 2018
“Right before he left in his kayak, Mr. Chau gave the fishermen a long note. In it, police officials said, he had written that Jesus had bestowed him with the strength to go to the most forbidden places on Earth,” noted The Times.
An investigation into Chau’s death is ongoing.
Chau’s death wasn’t the first time that visitors have been killed trying to reach the island.
Two fisherman were killed in 2006, although their bodies were never returned, Reuters reported.
Check out more on this story in the video clip below:
This story has been updated.