A crocodile killed a pastor during water baptisms in a lake in southern Ethiopia Sunday.
Docho Eshete was allegedly grabbed by the crocodile soon after he started a mass baptism for 80 people on the shores of Lake Abaya in southern Ethiopia.
“He baptised the first person and he passed on to another one,” local resident Ketema Kairo told the BBC. “All of a sudden, a crocodile jumped out of the lake and grabbed the pastor.”
Pastor Docho was said to have been bitten on his legs, back and hands.
As his horrified congregation looked on, local fishermen reportedly struggled to rescue him. It was said they succeeded only in using their nets to prevent the crocodile from taking the 45-year-old’s body into the lake, near the city of Arba Minch.
The crocodile is understood to have escaped.
Lake Abaya, Ethiopia’s second largest lake, is said to be beautiful, but the Lonely Planet travel guide warns: “It has a large population of crocodiles, which are said to be aggressive towards people and animals because the lake has few fish, their preferred food.”
It is likely that the reptile that killed Pastor Docho was a Nile Crocodile. Some Nile Crocodiles can grow to be up to six metres (20ft) long while weighing as much as 1,000kg (1 ton), and some estimates suggest the species is responsible for more than 300 attacks on humans in Africa every year.
It is thought to be responsible for more attacks on people than any other crocodile species, and it has been said that the Nile Crocodile causes the third highest number of large-animal-related human fatalities in Africa, after hippos and lions.
One study has noted that for the Nile Crocodile, “an opportunistic, ambush predator”, humans are “less powerful and slower in water than any similar-sized wild mammal and therefore easy prey.”