Images from the most dangerous island in the world
A lusciously green slice of paradise surrounded by crystal clear waters, North Sentinel Island in the Bay of Bengal hides a fascinating but deadly secret...
North Sentinel Island from above
From the outside it may look like paradise, but those who dare to land on its pristine beaches rarely escape with their lives.
The Andaman Islands
It makes up part of the Andaman Islands, which sit in the Bay of Bengal and belong officially to India.
North Sentinel Island has everything to make you swoon. Surrounded by the gentle waters of the Bay of Bengal, its lush green vegetation gives way to spectacular beaches and crystal clear waters, but its paradisical outer layer hides a dark reality. The island is one of the most dangerous places on earth.
It's neither the island's geography, nor its widlife, which make it hostile to outsiders, but its inhabitants. Those who have tried to disembark on the island have either come close to death or lost their lives, whilst those who have attempted to approach it by boat have been shot at with deadly arrows.
In 1974, a director who became fascinated with the island tried to steer his boat too close to the shore and received an arrow to the thigh. After the tsunami in 2004, an Indian-government helicopter bringing aid was greeted in the same fashion. But in 2006, two fishermen were found dead after their boat drifted into the shallow waters surrounding the island, causing the government to halt all attempts at contact with its mysterious inhabitants.
North Sentinel extends over 72km˛, right in the heart of the Andaman Islands. Officially the territory is not considered to be independent and has been an autonomous region of India since 1947.
Though very little is known about the tribe, the Sentinelles (as the tribe is known) have inhabited North Sentinel Island for around 60,000 years. Originally from Africa, the roughly 250 tribe members are thought to be primarily hunter-gatherers. Since their arrival on the island, they have evolved without any outside influence and see any attempt to enter their territory as a threat.
In images: North Sentinel Island
Experts who have studied the society from a distance agree that the Sentinelles' way of live is similar to that of the Paleolithic period, when society was based purely on hunting and gathering rather than the domestication of crops and animals that came in the later Neolithic period. The tribe's complete isolation has also allowed it to develop a unique dialect.
The population is ready to do anything to protect its little corner of paradise. Though it still fascinates many, those hoping to land on the island and meet its tribe won't be doing so any time soon.