Stuntman missing after being lowered into river with chains

Chanchal Lahiri during a previous escape attempt in 2002.

An Indian stuntman is feared dead after he lowered himself into the River Ganges while tied up with rope and steel chains in a stunt gone wrong.

Chanchal Lahiri, also known as Wizard Madrake, was placed into the river by a crane with family members, media and police watching on from the banks on Sunday.

Authorities started a frantic search for the 40-year-old after he tragically failed to emerge from the waters but failed to find any trace of his whereabouts.

"We are still searching," a family member told AFP.

Before his stunt at Calcutta's Howrah Bridge in February 24, 2002.

Lahiri is a well-known stuntman and daredevil who has performed a number of similar escape acts to varying degrees of success.

He goes by his stage name “Jadugar Mandrake” which translates as Wizard Mandrake.

"If I can free myself it will be magic, if I cannot it will be tragic," he said before his latest trick.

Lahiri had previously caused controversy after he tried a similar stunt at the same river in 2013.

Handcuffed magician Chanchal Lahiri being lowered into the river Hooghly in a glass cage box.

That time, however, he was assaulted by onlookers after they saw him emerge through a clearly visible escape hatch.

Despite being underwater for six seconds, a crowd mobbed him and attempted to pull off his wig and shoved him.

He claimed to have successfully pulled off a similar stunt 21 years ago at the same venue.

"I was inside a bullet proof glass box tied with chain and locks and dropped down from Howrah Bridge. Then I came out within 29 seconds,' he told AFP.