Four scubadivers who were swept away in a current last Thursday, while diving thetreacherous waters of Komodo Park, managed to land themselves on the island andreach safety.
Rescue teamshad been searching for two days for the divers, and was hampered by a lack ofresources including fuel for aircraft, so police called on local fishermen tohelp. The divers; three from Britain and one each from France and Sweden,came face-to-face with the giant, carnivorous lizard on Rinca’s palm-fringedbeach and Helena Nevalainen (the Swedish diver) told the press that she hadfended off a dragon with her weight belt. Ms. Nevalainen also reportedthat the dive itself had nto been difficult but the group ran into trouble whenthey reached the surface, where the current was very strong.
The diverstried to struggle against the current for several hours but could not reach anyof the islands they could see around them. Eventually they decided to conserveenergy and tied themselves together by their dive vests.
Hours laterhowever they saw another island and despite exhaustion and severe cramps madeone last effort to reach land, finally making to Rinca in the middle of thenight.
The divershad spent about nine hours at sea and a further 31 hours on the desertedisland, which is a sanctuary for the protected komodos off the western coast ofIndonesia’s Flores island. All divers emerged from their ordealalmost unscathed apart from dehydration.
KomodoNational Park lies about 400 kilometres (250 miles) east of the popular touristisland of Bali. It is well known for its teeming sea life with dive sites up to40 metres deep.