How Did That American Tourist Get Killed by an Andaman Tribe?

The fishermen said they saw the American tourist being attacked with bows and arrows.

Updated23 Nov 2018, 05:53 AM IST
2 min read

An American tourist was allegedly killed by a tribe in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, news agency ANI reported on Wednesday, 21 November.

John Allen Chau’s body was spotted by the fishermen, but the police have not been able to recover it, reported AP.


Chau, 27, is believed to have been killed by a tribe, called the Sentinelese, that is known to resist all contact with the outside world.

Seven fishermen, who took Chau to North Sentinel Island where the indigenous Sentinelese people live, have been arrested, AP reported, quoting VIjay Singh, a police official.


Chau was killed on Saturday, 17 November, Singh said, refusing to give further details about the investigation.

According to police officials, the fishermen said they last saw Chau being attacked with bows and arrows after he set foot on the island in the southern Andamans, reported NDTV.

The tribal people then dragged Chau to the beach before disappearing from sight, the fishermen told the police, adding that they had seen the tourist’s body half-buried in sand while sailing away from the island.


Quoting an article published in a Port Blair newspaper, PTI reported that Chau had visited the Andaman and Nicobar Islands five times before. His trips were made to “preach Christianity,” The Independent said quoting the Andaman Sheekha newspaper.

He had expressed a desire to meet the Sentinelese tribe, which is known to resist all contact with outsiders and attack anyone who comes near.

According to the report, Chau had failed to reach the island on 14 November. He then hired a fishing dinghy from Chidiyatapu and reached a city near the island on 16 November, from where he sailed in a canoe.


A statement issued by the police for the Andaman and Nicobar islands late on Wednesday, 21 November, said the police and India's coast guard carried out an aerial survey of Northern Sentinel Island on Tuesday, 20 November. A team of police and forest department officials used a coast guard boat to visit the island on Wednesday and another visit was planned Thursday, 22 November, AP reported.

Meanwhile, a US Consulate spokesperson told PTI, “We are aware of reports concerning a US citizen in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The welfare and safety of US citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the US Department of State. When a US citizen is missing, we work closely with local authorities as they carry out their search efforts. Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment.”


Sentinelese are an indigenous tribe of not more than 40 members who inhabit the North Sentinel Island. There are restrictions on entering the island and tourists need prior permission from the government before visiting.

According to The Independent, two fishermen were killed in 2006 for entering the island after their boat broke down and drifted on the shore.

(With inputs from NDTV, ANI, PTI and The Independent)

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Published: 21 Nov 2018, 07:57 AM IST

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