A crocodile killed a pastor during water baptisms in a lake in southern Ethiopia .

A water baptism ceremony held near a lake turned into a horrific tragedy when the pastor was reportedly grabbed by a crocodile recently.

Pastor Docho Eshete was baptizing at least 80 members of his Protestant congregation at Lake Abaya, in southern Ethiopia, an area known to have a huge crocodile population, when one of the creatures leaped out of the water and grabbed him.

“He baptized the first person and he passed on to another one,” a local resident told the BBC. “All of a sudden, a crocodile jumped out of the lake and grabbed the pastor.”

Abaya Lake is located in southern Ethiopia and is reported to have a large crocodile population.  (Google maps)

Pastor Docho died from injuries on his legs, back and hands despite efforts from the congregation, fishermen and residents trying to save him, policeman Eiwnetu Kanko said.

The crocodile escaped as the group used fishing nets to prevent it from taking the pastor’s lifeless body.

The crocodile leaped from the water and attacked protestant pastor Docho Eshete during the Sunday baptism ceremony on the shores of Lake Abaya, residents and police told the BBC. He died after the crocodile bit his legs, back and hands.

“He baptized the first person and he passed on to another one. All of a sudden, a crocodile jumped out of the lake and grabbed the pastor,” local resident Ketema Kairo told the BBC.

Fishermen attempted to rescue Docho, but they only managed to prevent the crocodile from taking his body with fishing nets. The crocodile got away.

It is likely that the crocodile that killed Docho was a Nile crocodile, the Independent reported. Nile crocodiles can grow up to 20 feet long and weigh more than 2,200 pounds.

The Crocodile Specialist Group estimates that Nile crocodiles are responsible for more than 300 attacks in Africa each year.

Lake Abaya, Ethiopia’s second-largest lake, is infested with aggressive crocodiles, according to the Lonely Planet travel guide.

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