Kultali, June 2: A tiger dragged away a young man from a boat and ferociously clawed his father when he rushed to his rescue on the edge of the Matla in the Sunderbans.
Tapan Mukherjee, 24, and his father Pashupati, 45, were catching crabs along the Denipheli forest, 125km from Calcutta, yesterday afternoon when the Bengal tiger closed in on them.
Honey-collectors by profession, four of them had split into two groups. The Mukherjees occupied one boat as they sailed along the forest, looking for crabs left behind by the high tide.
Dibakar Chakraborty, who saw the attack, said: “We were only yards away. Tapan was closer to the shore as he was doing the catching.”
The tiger leapt from behind a shrub and took Tapan by the neck. “In seconds, it vanished into the forest with him, leaving his profusely bleeding father behind,” Dibakar added. Tapan is missing.
Pashupati was brought to SSKM Hospital in Calcutta last night.
Pashupati has suffered a serious skull fracture and a bone fragment has pierced his brain, causing a blood clot. His scalp was torn at many places and surgeons had to sew the pieces together.
“He underwent an operation at 4am and the clot and the bone fragment have been removed,” said Anirban Ghoshal, the assistant superintendent of the hospital.
Doctors said his condition was still “very critical”.
In March, a woman looking for shrimps in a Kultali canal was dragged some 15 yards into the forest until villagers scared the tiger away with sticks. In February, a pregnant tigress strayed into a village and attacked people when they tried to cage it.
Minister Kanti Ganguly, who went to the Mukherjees’ house today, said: “We’ll pay for his treatment.”