Shields, medicines, gifts: How US tourist prepped for Sentinel Island trip

Chau was attacked with arrows and died in his second attempt to reach the North Sentinel Island on November 16. The previous day he had tried to enter the island, which is out of bounds for visitors, but retreated when a young boy attacked him an arrow.

india Updated: Nov 24, 2018 10:21 IST
US,Tourist,John Allen Chau
An American self-styled adventurer and Christian missionary, John Allen Chau, has been killed and buried by a tribe of hunter-gatherers on a remote island in the Indian Ocean where he had gone to proselytize, according to local law enforcement officials.(REUTERS)

American citizen John Allen Chau, who was killed by a primitive tribe in the Andamans, carried an abdominal pad, a chest shield, vitamins and a drug to quickly help clot blood, according to officials who disclosed more details into what are likely to have been his final moments.

The 26-year-old from the United States also carried fishing hooks, towels and rubber tubes as gifts, according to notes he left behind.

Chau was attacked with arrows and died in his second attempt to reach the North Sentinel Island on November 16. The previous day he had tried to enter the island, which is out of bounds for visitors, but retreated when a young boy attacked him an arrow.

The arrow, he wrote, hit a Bible he was carrying. “Why did a little kid have to shoot me today?” he wrote in his notes, which he left with the fishermen before swimming back the next morning. “His high-pitched voice still lingers in my head.”

Fishermen who helped Chau reach the island on November 16 told police they saw the tribesmen drag Chau’s body and bury him in the sand. The authorities have not been able to retrieve his body yet.

Andaman officials on Friday said restrictions on entry of foreigners, tourists and research officials were still in place near North Sentinel Island though a home ministry notification had exempted foreigners from a restricted area permit (RAP) in June this year.

Andaman and Nicobar Protection of Aboriginal Tribes Regulation (1956) is the principal law that protects aboriginal tribes of the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

“This law restricts any kind of visit to North Sentinel Island and similar islands unless the trip is cleared by the highest authority,” said C Raghu, head of the regional office of the Anthropological Survey of India in Port Blair. Dependra Pathak, director general of police of the union territory, said there were additional restrictions under the Indian Forest Act, 1927, that provides for imprisonment for entering a forest area without requisite permission.

The tourism industry, tour guides and tourists of Indian and foreign origin have to follow rules and restrictions under Andaman & Nicobar Islands Tourism Trade Regulation, 2017. These laws cover all islands in the region.

Foreign nationals require a RAP to visit the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which is available from the immigration department on arrival at Port Blair and at Indian foreign offices in several countries. The permit is valid for 30 days and can be extended by 15 days. Citizens of Afghanistan, China and Pakistan are required to seek permission from the Union home ministry to visit the Andamans.

Another police official requesting anonymity said Chau knew about the restrictions and, therefore, bribed fishermen to take him to the island.

First Published: Nov 24, 2018 10:03 IST