India tiger attack in Sundarbans
Indian forest guards and workers travel on a boat to collect statistics related to tigers during a week-long tiger census in the core area of Sundarbans Tiger Reserve, about 130 km (81 miles) south of Kolkata Reuters

A man fishing crabs in a creek in the vast Sundarbans National Park in eastern India was snatched off the boat and killed by a tiger.

The incident happened at dawn on Thursday, when the 62-year-old victim was fishing in one of the creeks in the vast mangrove forest renowned for its bio-diversity and tiger population.

As Sushil Majhi, along with his son and daughter, rowed up the creek looking for catch, a Bengal tiger that stalked the group jumped onto the boat.

The tiger pounced on Sushil, who was sitting in the middle of the boat, in a flash.

"Suddenly, my sister cried out: 'Dada, bagh (tiger)'. I was stunned, and my body froze. All I saw a flash of yellow. It took me a moment to register the gruesome sight before me. My father was completely buried under the beast," Sushil's son Jyotish told the Times of India.

Jyotish and his sister attacked the tiger with a stick and a weapon used for clearing foliage but the beast held on to its quarry.

The tiger, one of about 250 Bengal tigers living in the Indian half of the sprawling Unesco World Heritage Site, bit the man on his neck and swung his body on to its back and leapt out of the boat, disappearing into the forest.

"It jumped off and landed on the bank in one giant leap. We saw it disappear into the jungle with my father still in its jaws," Jyotish said.

They raised an alarm and fishermen from nearby areas gathered at the spot. But they did not chase the tiger into the wild, and it is unlikely that the victim's remains will ever be recovered.

Sushil is the fourth person to be killed by tigers in the Sundarbans this year.

Sunderbans authorities confirmed the incident and said it happened in a prohibited area. "Fishing is banned in the forests where the incident took place," said Sundarbans Tiger Reserve field director Soumitra Dasgupta, according to the ToI.

Tiger Widows

Sundarbans is a network of estuaries, tidal rivers, and creeks spread over roughly 3,860 square miles (10,000 square km), about three-fifths of which is in Bangladesh, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

There are an estimated 500 Royal Bengal tigers in the reserve. According to Bangladeshi authorities, about 60 people are killed by tigers every year in their side of the vast swamp.

Tiger attacks have become common in recent years as animal habitats shrank because of human activity. Now every village in the marshland has women referred to as "tiger widows".

According to, tigers swim up to three miles at a stretch to reach villages in search of food. They also prey on the men who enter the forest to find food and firewood. "They attack the strongest of the men first going straight for the neck. They may take a second and third victim also."