Published: Mon, June 17, 2019

Bengal magician's Houdini bid fails, goes missing during live stunt in Ganga

Bengal magician's Houdini bid fails, goes missing during live stunt in Ganga

Kolkata: A 40-year-old Mandrake, who tried to do tricks like legendary magician of escape games Harry Houdini, drowned in river Hoogly here while trying to perform an underwater live stunt Sunday.

Chanchal Lahiri is prepared to be lowered into the Ganges River on Sunday in Kolkata, West Bengal.

When Lahiri tried the stunt at the river in 2013, he was assaulted by onlookers who saw through his escape from a locked cage via a door that was clearly visible.

Eye witnesses said that Lahiri went inside the river from Kolkata's Millenium Park, with the intention to mesmerise people with his magic but disappeared near pillar number 28 of the Howrah Bridge.

Harry Houdini was a Hungarian-born American stuntman who became a sensation in the early 20th century with daredevil feats including escaping from a crate lowered into the East River in NY in 1912.

"He only had permission to perform magic stunts on a steamer", Sanjoy Chanda of the Kolkata Police told ABC News. He was to be picked up in that position from the boat by a crane, stationed on the Howrah Bridge, that would in turn lower him into the river.

Local police authorities subsequently launched a search for him, but haven't had any success as of yet.

Lahiri said he wanted to perform the stunt to promote the performance of magic, which has become unpopular despite its traditional roots in the country, Shaw recounted. "He [Mr Lahiri] smiled and said, 'If I do it right, it's magic".

He was not only to be blindfolded, but his hands and legs were also to be tied up. "But it seems the current has swept him away".

An upset family member said: "We are still searching". "Our divers dived deep, but could not locate him", a senior police official said. "Then I came out within 29 seconds", he told the news agency.

Disaster Management Group divers jumped into the water to trace Lahiri but the efforts went into vain.

Nearly a decade earlier, he declared he would walk on the river waters but had to beat a hasty retreat when the act went wrong.

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