Eighty people were gathered at Lake Abaya while Docho Eshetem, the Protestant clergyman, conducted a mass baptism in the shallow water.
About 80 people were being baptised when Pastor Docho Eshete lost his life on Sunday morning, at the lake in Arba Minch town's Merkeb Tabya district.
But by the time his rescuers managed to get Eshete back to shore, Eshete had died from bites to his back, legs, and hands. It was not done with his attack and proceeded to try and drag the man into the lake.
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The reptile - believed to be a Nile croc - escaped.
In addition, according to the Telegraph, Lake Abaya crocodiles have a reputation of aggression towards humans because of a dearth of fish caused by overfishing. Eyewitness accounts of the incident were given until BBC Amharic investigated the story and interviewed witnesses.
Members of the congregation, as well as fishermen on the lake, attempted to rescue the clergyman - an nearly impossible task.