A crocodile attack at a mass baptism in Africa has taken the life of the presiding pastor.
The Rev. Docho Eshete was conducting the service for about 80 people on Sunday morning at Lake Abaya in southern Ethiopia, the BBC reported. Eshete died after being bitten on his legs, back and hands.
“He baptized the first person and he passed on to another one. All of a sudden, a crocodile jumped out of the lake and grabbed the pastor,” local resident Ketema Kairo told the network.
Members of the congregation, as well as fishermen on the lake, attempted to rescue the clergyman—to no avail. Crocodiles clamp their jaws firmly down on their prey immediately after catching it and then perform a “death roll” that disorients victims and breaks their bones.
Nevertheless, policeman Eiwnetu Kanko said the rescuers used fishing nets to prevent the crocodile from taking Eshete further into the lake.
“They only managed to get his dead body,” added Kanko. “They were unable to save him.”
According to England’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, Protestant baptism services in Africa are frequently conducted by rivers or lakes, with the participants being fully or partially immersed in the water. The ceremony was always likely to be risky one. Abaya, Ethiopia’s second largest lake, is known for having a large crocodile population. The crocodiles are also aggressive because of a dearth of fish in the lake.
According to the newspaper, crocodile attacks are common in Africa, with many of the victims being women washing clothes. In addition, according to the Telegraph, Lake Abaya crocodiles have a reputation of aggression toward humans.
The lake’s reddish brown waters make it hard to spot a crocodile until it surfaces, making escape less likely.
The incident came a month after a crocodile in Zimbabwe ripped off the arm of local resident Zanele Ndlovu, 25, five days before she was due to marry her British fiancé, Jamie Fox, 27. The couple went ahead with the wedding as scheduled.