Two tigers killed a man who stuck his arm into their enclosure in northeastern India on Wednesday, ripping off his arm as his family and dozens of visitors looked on, zoo officials said.

The man, identified as 50-year-old Jayaprakash Bezbaruah, avoided zoo safety precautions in an apparent attempt to photograph the two adult Bengal tigers up close, said Gauhati zoo warden Narayan Mahanta.

"The man ignored warnings from keepers, crossed the first barrier and stretched his hand into the enclosure that housed a male and a female tiger before the animals grabbed his limb and tore it apart at the shoulder," he said.

Bezbaruah was rushed to a local hospital but died of blood loss, said Mahanta.

Bezbaruah, a government official from a nearby town, had been visiting the zoo with his wife and two children.

"I have never encountered such a bizarre incident in my 11 years as a wildlife official. It was shocking," Mahanta said.