A family in India was observing Ekadashi in the National Chambal Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary when a crocodile fatally attacked a 20-year-old woman as she bathed on the banks of a river.

The tragedy occurred Tuesday on the Chambal River in the sanctuary located in the Etawah District in the state of Uttar Pradesh, according to The Times of India.

Ekadashi is an auspicious day or spiritual day that occurs twice in a Hindu calendar month.

A crocodile attacked a woman on a riverbank in India’s National Chambal Gharial. Photo: Courtesy of Pixabay

"According to the girl's family, she was observing the Ekadashi fast and had gone to take a dip as part of the ritual," the Times of India wrote.

The reptile attacked the woman identified only as Neeraj and dragged her under the water before help could arrive as her family watched in horror.

Wildlife officials believe the nesting season could have had something to do with the attack.

"Crocodiles lay eggs in this season," forest officer Anil Patel told the Times of India. "The victim may have unknowingly ventured near the crocodile's nest in the sanctuary. Female crocodiles get aggressive in this season as they protect eggs or hatchlings.

"People shouldn't venture near a riverbank in summers."

The sanctuary is home to over 500 crocodiles, and attacks are said to be on the rise as a result of decreasing water levels in the Chambal River, thus causing a shortage of natural feed like fish.

Sanctuary officials, police and divers were working together in trying to recover the woman's body.

h/t Daily Mail

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