The Disappearance Of John Allen Chau On North Sentinel Island

According to his missionary group, Chau spent years planning and training to journey illegally to North Sentinel Island on a mission to convert the island’s population to Christianity, which included acquiring emergency treatment and studying linguistics and cultural anthropology. Despite the fact that he knew the islanders had a lengthy history of violent resistance to strangers, he carried out a covert trip to the remote island alone.

The tribe killed him immediately after he arrived on the island, according to the police. The body has yet to be found, according to Indian authorities.

This was found in his journal:

“God, I don’t want to die,” Chau scrawled in his journal while sitting in a fishing boat off the coast of the island where the North Sentinelese people live, shortly before he was killed. “WHO WILL TAKE MY PLACE IF I DO?”

Chau seemed genuinely interested in the North Sentinelese tribe, who lived in the Stone Age on a nearby island, protected by the Indian government’s three-mile exclusion zone. The tribe has traditionally rejected outside human interaction; following the tsunami of 2004, members of the tribe fired arrows and spears at Indian helicopters flying overhead.

A Sentinelese tribesman aims an arrow at an Indian coast guard helicopter on Dec. 28, 2004

Chau later told other pals he was on a reconnaissance operation, and authorities said he spent time studying how to bypass military patrols on his last trip to the island.

According to Dependra Pathak, the director general of police for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chau devised a “very detailed plan to hide his mission as fishing activity.”

Chau studied sports medicine at Oral Roberts University and volunteered for soccer programs in Iraq and South Africa before graduating in 2014. He spent three summers in a cabin in California’s Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, where he was hospitalized after being bitten by a rattlesnake.

Chau’s Journal

Chau’s diary, which was given to The Washington Post by his family, reads like the adventure tales he used to read. He arrived in the Andamans on Oct. 16 and paid fishermen to carry him to the island on Nov. 14 by boat at night, avoiding patrol lights. Chau approached the tribe as the sun rose. He wrote that the women began “looing and chattering,” and that he was confronted by men wielding bows and arrows. “My name is John, and I love you just as much as Jesus loves you,” he exclaimed before fleeing.

He kayaked to the island on the second day and attempted to give the tribe little gifts such as fish, scissors, cord, and safety pins. A man in white, possibly wearing a flower crown, yelled at him. The tribe became silent as he reacted by singing “praise songs and hymns.” His waterproof Bible was pierced by an arrow thrown by a youngster. Chau made his way through the mangroves on foot.

“Lord, is this the last stronghold of Satan, where no one has heard or even had the opportunity to hear your name?” he penned

He was convinced he was going to die by the third day.

He wrote, “Watching the sunset and it’s beautiful – crying a little… wondering if this is the last sunset I see.” He requested that the fisherman drop him down on the shore. The tribesmen were dragging Chau’s body the next day when they returned.

The fishermen, as well as a friend of Chau’s who helped organize the boat trip, have been arrested. Pathak said police have no plan to recover his remains and have no intention of confronting the islanders.

The entire situation has left Chau’s friends on the islands bereft and perplexed.

“He clearly lost his mind,” one stated. “Ask any adventurer, though. You have to become insane for it; otherwise, you won’t do it.”

The North Sentinel Island Tribe

  • The Sentinelese are the most isolated tribe in the world.
  • The first and probably the last peaceful contact they made with the outside world was in 1994 The Sentinelese received a pig, doll, toy vehicle, cooking utensils, and coconuts from National Geographic. This is the Sentinelese’s first and, I believe, final amicable encounter with technology-based humans. Not only has the government prohibited travel to the island, but the Sentinelese have gotten increasingly aggressive in recent years.
Photo of the peaceful visit

According to reports, the Sentinelese enthusiastically ate the coconuts, despite the fact that it is not a native fruit of the island. The Sentinelese were also said to have slaughtered and buried the pig and the doll, but not the cooking utensils, which they must have used for killing and hunting.

In 1974, Adams Goodheart authored an essay titled “The Last Island of Savages,” according on this meet. The Sentinelese’s last encounter was with journalist Chau, who was slain and buried on the beach. The fishermen, as well as six others who assisted Chau, are now in prison.


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