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

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."

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.

This article originally appeared on FoxNews.com. Reprinted with permission.

Caleb Parke is an associate editor for FoxNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter @calebparke

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