American killed in Andamans: A fatal entry into no-entry zone

Fishermen saw a body being buried on the shore, it looked like Chau’s: police

November 22, 2018 09:45 am | Updated December 03, 2021 10:14 am IST - PORT BLAIR/New Delhi

Out of bounds: A Sentinel tribal aiming an arrow at a Coast Guard helicopter as it flies over the island on December 28, 2004, after the Indian Ocean tsunami.

Out of bounds: A Sentinel tribal aiming an arrow at a Coast Guard helicopter as it flies over the island on December 28, 2004, after the Indian Ocean tsunami.

John Allen Chau, the American national allegedly killed by people belonging to the protected Sentinelese tribe in the North Sentinel Island, had hired fishermen to take him there clandestinely, Dependra Pathak, DGP, Andaman and Nicobar Police said on Wednesday.

“They started on November 14 around 8 p.m. and reached by midnight. The next day, Mr. Chau moved to shore using his kayak which he got towed with the fishing boat. After dropping him, the fishermen fixed their timings and place to meet each other.


“In the morning of November 17, they saw a dead person being buried at the shore which from the silhouette of the body, clothing and circumstances appeared to be the body of Mr. Chau,” a press release said.

They returned to Port Blair and narrated the incident to local electronics engineer Alexander, who had arranged for the transport, and handed him the 13 pages of the journal written by Mr. Chau.

Mr. Alexander informed Bobby Parks, a friend of Mr. Chau in the U.S., who informed his mother. His mother informed the U.S. Consulate, which alerted the police on November 19.

John Allen Chau.

John Allen Chau.

The DGP said access to North Sentinel Island and its buffer zone is strictly restricted under the Protection of Aboriginal Tribe (Regulation), 1956 and Regulations under Indian Forest Act, 1927. All the seven people who helped Mr. Chau were, therefore, booked and arrested in a case for violating the provisions of the PAT Regulations, the release said. A case of murder has also been registered against anonymous persons, it said.

In an interview to the blog ‘The Outbound Collective’ in November 2015, Mr. Chau, when asked about his destinations for adventure travel, said South Africa and India were on the top of the list, though the North Cascades in the U.S. were also close.


To another question on his must-do adventure list, he said, “Going back to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in India is on the top - there’s so much to see and do there!” Survival International, a global movement for tribal peoples’ rights has expressed concern over the incident.

Authorities blamed

In a statement on Wednesday, Survival International’s director Stephen Corry blamed the Indian authorities for the tragedy.

He criticised the government for excluding the North Sentinel Island and 28 others in the Union Territory from the Restricted Area Permit (RAP) regime.

Instead it should have enforced the curb, both for the safety of the tribe and outsiders.

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