An American tourist has been killed after paying local fisherman to take him to an island inhabited by a protected community.
During a visit to India’s remote Andaman and Nicobar islands, John Allen Chau was illegally ferried to the The North Sentinel Island, which is out-of-bounds to tourists and home to the Sentinelese people.
A local source told news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) that Chau has tried to reach the Sentinel island two days earlier “but could not make it”.
“Two days later he went well prepared,” they said. “He left the dingy midway and took a canoe all by himself to the island.
“He was attacked by arrows but he continued walking.”
The fisherman saw the people dragging Chau’s body, AFP reports, causing them to flee.
When they returned the next day, they found Chau’s body on the sea shore.
Police have launched an investigation, Deepak Yadav, a police official in the island chain in the Bay of Bengal, said in a statement late on Tuesday.
A spokeswoman for the United States consulate in Chennai, India, told Reuters: “We are aware of reports concerning a US citizen in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
“When a US citizen is missing, we work closely with local authorities as they carry out their search efforts.”
Reuters was not immediately able to trace contact details for a family member or representative of Chau.
A police source said Chau, who had made previous visits to the islands, had a strong desire to meet the Sentinelese.
His body, spotted the following day by the fishermen on their return, has not yet been retrieved, the official added, although the fishermen who took him there have been arrested.
The Sentinelese are an uncontacted tribe who are believed to have lived on the island for up to 55,000 years.
It is unclear how many of them are alive and estimates do not place numbers any higher than 100.
Attempts to contact them have previously been made and after the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, an official in a helicopter took a photograph of a lone Sentinelese aiming an arrow from the beach.