Body of Indian magician who attempted Houdini trick found

Magician Chanchal Lahiri sits on a boat before performing one of his tricks in the Hooghly river in Kolkata, India, on June 16, 2019.
Magician Chanchal Lahiri sits on a boat before performing one of his tricks in the Hooghly river in Kolkata, India, on June 16, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI (DPA) - The body of an Indian magician who attempted to perform Harry Houdini's famed underwater escape trick has been discovered, police said on Tuesday (June 18), confirming that he drowned while attempting the feat.

"His body washed up around 2 kilometres from the site of the incident and was identified by his relatives late on Monday night," a police officer at the North Port police station said by phone.

"His hands were free but his legs were still bound by chain and rope," the police officer added.

Chanchal Lahiri, 42, who adopted the stage name Mandrake, attempted the stunt by being lowered into the Hooghly river in the eastern city of Kolkata on Sunday. A search operation was launched immediately after spectators did not see him re-emerge.

Local media reports said that the magician had not taken proper security precautions in preparing for the risky act.

Lahiri performed a version of the underwater escape in 2013, but was assaulted by spectators who said that a false door in the cage was easily visible. He also made an unsuccessful attempt to walk on the Hooghly river a few years before that, the reports said.

Lahiri gave a televised interview before his fatal attempt, saying his hands and legs were being shackled with six locks, steel chain and a rope.

 

"It will be very difficult to free myself but I should manage it... If I can do it, it will be magic. If I cannot, it will be tragic," Lahiri smiled and said.