"If I can open it up then it will be magic, but if I can't it will be tragic," Chanchal Lahiri said before his attempt

By Ashley Boucher
June 17, 2019 10:13 PM

An Indian magician attempting a Harry Houdini-inspired trick went missing after being lowered into the water while bound, according to local authorities.

Chanchal Lahiri, also known by his stage name “Jadugar Mandrake,” is feared to be dead after he failed to emerge from the Hooghly River on Sunday after being chained up and plunged into the water near the Howrah Bridge in Kolkata, CNN reported Monday.

After Lahiri was lowered into the water by a crane, he did not reappear after about 30 minutes, and authorities were alerted, the outlet reported.

“We fear he drowned in the river,” Syed Waquar Raza, a member of the river police, told the Agence France Presse. Rescuers have been working to find him since the attempt on Sunday, according to the outlet.

The BBC reported on Monday that a body “resembling” Lahiri has been found but has not yet been identified.

In a video from the BBC, Lahiri explained the trick he was about to attempt.

“The magic we are going to do today is so risky,” he said in the video. “First, my hands will be tied behind my back with a rope. My legs will also be bound by thick rope. My whole body will be in chains. There will be six locks. I will be picked up by a crane in that condition and lowered into the water.”

Chanchal Lahiri
Chanchal Lahiri

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“If I can open it up then it will be magic, but if I can’t it will be tragic,” Lahiri said before he was lowered into the water, the AFP said in their report. The outlet also said that Lahiri was attempting the trick to “revive interest in magic.”

This wasn’t the first water escape trick that Lahiri has attempted. In 2013, Lahiri escaped from a locked cage that had been submerged in the river, according to the AFP. The outlet also reported that onlookers at the time ended up assaulting Lahiri after he escaped because they could see the door he used to free himself.

One of Houdini’s most famous tricks was escaping, handcuffed, from a box that was dumped into New York’s East River in 1912. The first time he performed the illusion, he emerged from the water after 150 seconds, according to Gizmodo.