"He baptized the first person and he passed on to another one", a resident of nearby Arba Minch told the BBC.
A giant crocodile killed an African pastor as he was conducting a mass baptism.
The pastor, identified as Docho Eshete, died after being bitten on his legs, back and hands. "All of a sudden, a crocodile jumped out of the lake and grabbed the pastor".
After the crocodile struck, congregants and local fishermen scrambled to save the Protestant clergyman, policeman Eiwnetu Kanko said, using fishing nets to prevent the crocodile from taking Eshete further into the lake.
Members of the congregation, as well as fishermen on the lake, attempted to rescue the clergyman - an nearly impossible task.
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The animal escaped, the BBC said.
Lake Abaya is Ethiopia's second largest lake and is known for having a large crocodile population.
The "reddish-brown" water also makes it hard to spot crocodiles in the vicinity, per the Telegraph.
Experts believe they carry out more than 300 attacks on humans in Africa every year. Numerous victims are people washing clothes on river rocks.
Locals who tried to wrestle him from the crocodile were not able to do so, but succeeded in recovering his body.