Magic turns tragic - 40-year-old stuntman goes missing in River Ganga

Kolkata Magician goes missing after attempting Houdini-like stunt in Hooghly river

Kolkata Magician goes missing after attempting Houdini-like stunt in Hooghly river

An Indian magician is feared dead after attempting to recreate a stunt made famous by Harry Houdini. Lahiri was also blindfolded, and his hands and legs were tied with ropes as part of the act. "We tried to spot him, but it seems the stream has swept him away", an unidentified senior police officer said.

Mr Lahiri has successfully performed underwater tricks on other occasions - 20 years ago he emerged from a glass box after being lowered into the same river.

Police and a team of divers canvassed the area but as of Sunday evening local time, they had been unable to find the magician. Because of darkness, we had to temporarily stop our search operation on Sunday evening.

Lahiri, police sources, said had taken permission to show the stunts.

Nearly a decade earlier, he declared he would walk on the river waters but had to beat a hasty retreat when the act went wrong. Hence we allowed him permission. "We are investigating", police said.

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"If I can open it up then it will be magic, but if I can't it will be tragic", he said.

A decade ago, Lahiri had also declared that he would walk on the river but had to retreat when his act went wrong.

He had been lowered into the river from a boat, bound with six locks and a chain as a crowd on two other boats looked on. "He [Lahiri] smiled and said, "If I do it right, it's magic". The magic was that he would come up from water, by untying himself on his own. Around 12:35 pm, near pillar number 28, Lahiri was locked inside a box and it was pulled up by a crane and thrown into the Ganga. Back then, some people had allegedly assaulted him after seeing his trick. Some of the spectators called up the police. Policemen rushed to the spot along with Disaster Management Group and started a search for Lahiri.

According to the plan, on Sunday, he boarded a vessel from Fairlie Place Ghat and went towards Howrah Bridge.

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