Chanchal Lahiri, a magician who tried to perform tricks like legendary magician of escape games Harry Houdini, was reportedly drowned in the Ganga on Sunday while trying to perform an underwater live stunt. According to eye witnesses, Lahiri went inside the river from Millenium Park here, with the intention to mesmerize people with his magic but disappeared near pillar number 28 of the Howrah Bridge. The police along with Disaster Management Group began a search for him.
“We tried to spot him. But it seems the stream has swept him away. Our divers dived deep, but could not locate him.
“Because of darkness, we had to temporarily stop our search operation on Sunday evening. We will resume it tomorrow,” a senior police officer said.
Lahiri, police sources, said had taken permission to show the stunts. “But there were no proper security measures with him,” they said.
Lahiri took a ferry from Fairly Place Ghat at around noon and jumped near the pillar number 28 to perform the magic, an onlooker said. “The magic that Lahiri was to perform was very risky and complicated,” he said.
He was not only to be blindfolded, but his hands and legs were also to be tied up. 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. The magic was that he would come up from water, by untying himself on his own.
Accordingly, he went to the middle of the river just underneath the bridge from where he was picked up by the crane and thrown into the river near pillar number 28 of the bridge. The spectators waiting there and cheering him for his act started to panic as it was more than ten minutes and Lahiri was not coming out of water.
Some of the spectators called up the local North Port police station for help. Policemen rushed to the spot along with Disaster Management Group and started a search for Lahiri. Four divers were constantly looking for his body, though it could not be fished out till late evening.
"We have started an investigation as to how a crane reached the Howrah Bridge and who gave him permission for the magic show," the officials said.