American Tourist Killed by Isolated Tribe on Indian Island

Saul Bowman
November 24, 2018

The recent incident where a 27 year old American man was killed by an endangered tribe at the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is a good example of where to know your limits.

Others identified him as a Christian missionary named John Allen Chau, according to Reuters. Visits to the island are forbidden by the government, and officials were working with anthropologists to find a way to recover the body.

"It was a case of misdirected adventure, " he said.

Chau was killed by members of the Sentinelese community using bows and arrows, according to multiple media accounts.

"... He was a Christian missionary, a wilderness EMT, an global soccer coach and a mountaineer".

Police arrested the seven fishermen and charged them with endangering the life of the American by taking him to a prohibited area, Pathak said. "We forgive those reportedly responsible for his death".

"He ventured out on his own free will and his local contacts need not be persecuted for his own actions".

Reuters was unable to confirm if Chau planned to preach on the island, and was not immediately able to trace contact details for his family or a representative. Pathak told TOI that the Indian Coast Guard sailed close to the island and superintendent of police Jatin Nariwal made an aerial survey, but could not recover the body. He had earlier visited the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 2015 and 2016, Pathak said.

The fishermen after reaching Port Blair, contacted a local preacher Alex, who was supposedly on friendly terms with John Chau, who then informed the deceased's family and the USA embassy in New Delhi for help.

Poachers are known to fish illegally in the waters around the island, catching turtles and diving for lobsters and sea cucumbers.


Chau was carrying a Bible that was hit by an arrow when he was first shot at by the tribesmen on November 15, according to notes Chau left with the fishermen that Staver said he has seen. He interacted with some of the tribespeople, giving them gifts he had prepared such as a football and fish. But the tribespeople became angry and shot an arrow at him, hitting a book he was carrying, Mr Pathak said.

"Right before he left in his kayak, Mr. Chau gave the fishermen a long note". 15 and sent the boat with the fishermen out to sea to avoid detection, Pathak said. Chau's body was spotted on November 20.

What happened then isn't known.

They are hunter-gatherers who live on a remote, forested island in the Indian Ocean.

Authorities launched an investigation after police were contacted by the USA consulate in the southern city of Chennai, which has been in touch with Chau's mother.

Seven locals including some fishermen who facilitated Chau's visit have been arrested.

Kathleen Hosie, spokeswoman for the U.S. Consulate in Chennai, the capital of southern Tamil Nadu state, said it was aware of reports concerning an American in the islands.

Due to the tribe being protected by Indian law, they can not exactly be prosecuted. "So the Sentinelese fear of outsiders is very understandable", Stephen Corry, the group's director, said in a statement.

They are also protected under Indian laws. The fishermen were booked under Protection of Aboriginal Tribes act. "I have no question it was to bring the gospel of Jesus to them", Staver said. The next day, Chau used a kayak to approach the island and attempted to speak with the islanders, who have been known to fire arrows at interlopers. Tribespeople killed two Indian fishermen in 2006 when their boat broke loose and drifted onto the shore.

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