Indian magician performing Houdini trick feared dead

An Indian magician performing a Houdini trick is feared dead after he failed to emerged from the water of the river into which he plunged while chained. He goal was to escape the chain using his magic powers.

An Indian magician who dived into the Ganges river on Sunday, totally chained to prove he could leave quickly, remains missing, a day after his failed attempt to escape.

Chanchal Lahiri, known by his stage name “Jadugar Mandrake” (Mandrake magician), threw himself into the river from a crane in front of members of his family, the media and the police. Dozens of other spectators also came expectantly to the event.

But the man, 40 years old, never emerged from the water. The authorities initiated search efforts without success. “We are still searching,” a member of his family told local media hours after the incident.

This Monday, the picture looked less and less hopeful for the Houdini magician. “We fear that he has drowned,” said a member of the rescuers, who have been touring the swift and turbid currents of the area.

Before starting, Lahiri had explained that he had achieved this same feat in a less difficult version 21 years ago in the same place. “I was chained inside a glass cage and I jumped into the water from the Howrah bridge, it took me only 29 seconds to get out,” he said before performing the trick.

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This time, he had recognized that it would be more difficult. “If I get to free myself, it will be magical, if I do not succeed, it will be tragic,” he said. In 2013, Lahiri again tried to evade the glass cage but the public began to insult him once they saw an exit door in that accessory.

A photographer present at the event explains that Lahiri wanted to perform this trick to “rekindle interest in magic”. 

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