Heartbreaking final moments of American tourist who was killed by remote tribe revealed
The emotional final journal entries of the American man who was killed by an isolated tribe on a remote Indian island have been revealed.
John Allen Chau, 27, went to North Sentinel Island to encourage the Sentinelese, an indigenous group who refuse contact with the outside world, to convert to Christianity. He was met with a flurry of arrows when he arrived, and died on the island, which is off-bounds to visitors.
According to his mother, hours before his death in a journal entry addressed to his family, the traveler wrote that he believed it was important to share his religion with the endangered tribe, but confessed he didn't want to die.
The young missionary claimed that, after a treacherous journey in the dark in a boat to the area where the tribe lived in huts, he saw them.
The men, who stood about 5-feet-5 inches tall with yellow paste on their face, reacted angrily to his presence, as he tried to speak their language and sing "worship songs" to them, he wrote.
To see just how hostile these tribespeople can become, check out the chilling footage below:
"I hollered, 'My name is John, I love you and Jesus loves you,' " he wrote in his journal, which was shared with The Washington Post. A child then shot at him with an arrow, which pierced his waterproof Bible.
Shortly before he left the safety of his boat to meet the tribesmen on the island, he added: "You guys might think I’m crazy in all this but I think it’s worthwhile to declare Jesus to these people, God, I don’t want to die."
Chau’s obsession with the secluded tribe was also "confirmed" by his friend, Remco Snoeij, whom he met back in 2016 when the Washington state missionary showed up at his dive shop on Havelock Island.
After bonding through scuba diving, Snoeij told The Washington Post that Chau seemed to be intensely interested in the North Sentinelese tribe. “He shared a keep interest in researching and knowing more about them.”
John Chau's mission was not only dangerous, but illegal:
On dive excursions, Snoeij would tell Chau stories about two fishermen who breached the island in 2006 and were strangled by islanders, and about rumors that the Japanese military had once buried gold there during World War II.
“It must have struck a cord [with Chau]", he said. “He lost his mind, definitely. But ask any adventurer. You have to lose your mind a little bit, otherwise, you don’t do it.”
The 27-year-old's dead body was reportedly seen by fishermen in the following days on the island, which is located in India's remote Andaman and Nicobar chain. The exact timeframe of these events remains unclear.
A senior police officer confirmed to Andaman Sheekha that a murder case had been registered against unknown members of the Sentinelese tribe.
However, because contact with the tribe is forbidden, Chau's killers allegedly cannot be prosecuted for taking his life. Police have reportedly stated that seven fishermen have been arrested for illegally ferrying the missionary to the island.
Chau’s friend Neil MacLeod named him "a warm and engaging and friendly kind of fellow" who was "a million miles from what you'd expect a missionary to be".
In an interview with the MailOnline, MacLeod added that Chau had been planning the trip for at least three years, and that he was "committed" to preaching to the Sentinelese about Christianity.
"He recognized the dangers of traveling there, but I think he had a sense of call," he said. "This was something he was working on for three years. He was committed to going there. In his view, he was trying to help these people. There are islands that are nearby and he was making relationships and connections to help him get to the islands...He was a lovely character and wanted to help people."
After his death was confirmed yesterday, Chau's family took to social media to publicly mourn him. In their emotional tribute, they named him "a beloved son, brother, uncle and best friend" and admitted he made the trip of his "own free will".
"We recently learned from an unconfirmed report that John Allen Chau was reported killed in India while reaching out to members of the Sentinelese Tribe in the Andaman Islands," they wrote on Instagram. "Words cannot express the sadness we have experienced about this report. He was a beloved son, brother, uncle and best friend to us. To others, he was a Christian missionary, a wilderness EMT, an international soccer coach and a mountaineer."
The family continued: "He loved God, life, helping those in need and had nothing but love for the Sentinelese people. We forgive those reportedly responsible for his death. We also ask for the release of those friends he had in the Andaman Islands. He ventured out on his own free will and his local contacts need not be persecuted for his own actions. As a family, we ask for your understanding and respect for him and us during this time. Thank you, The Chau family."
I'm sure over the next coming months, this controversial and somewhat baffling story will take many twists and turns, and although people will have differing opinions about whether or not John Chau was right to attempt to contact the tribe, nobody deserves to die simply for attempting to make peace.