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.

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

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.

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

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.

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