An Indian magician has drowned while attempting to recreate a stunt made famous by escape artist Harry Houdini.
The body of Chanchal Lahiri, known as “Wizard Mandrake”, was found about one kilometre from where he was lowered into the Hooghly river in West Bengal state on Sunday, tied in steel chains and rope.
His body was identified late on Monday, a day after he attempted the dangerous stunt.
Lahiri, 42, was supposed to escape his shackles while underwater then swim to safety, but he did not resurface.
Madan Bharti, a historian of Indian magic, said Mr Lahiri’s death was a “big loss” for the community, adding “he was a great stunt artist”.
Spectators who gathered to watch Mr Lahiri perform the trick on Sunday alerted the police, who began searching for him using a team of divers.
Lahiri 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.
A crowd also gathered on the shore and on nearby Howrah Bridge in Kolkata.
Witness Jayant Shaw, a photographer with a local newspaper, told the BBC he spoke to Lahiri before the trick began.
"I asked him why he risked his life for magic," Mr Shaw said.
"He smiled and said, 'If I do it right, it's magic. If I make a mistake, it becomes tragic’."
He said the magician told him he wanted to perform the trick to “revive interest in magic".
Mr Lahiri had successfully performed underwater tricks on other occasions – 20 years ago he emerged from a glass box after being lowered into the same river.
"I never thought he would not come out of the water this time,” Mr Shaw said.
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