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Divers battled Komodo dragon before rescue

  • Story Highlights
  • Five European divers battled Komodo dragon before rescue
  • Group found at Mantaolan, on the island of Rinca off Komodo National Park
  • Missing divers included three Britons, one Frenchwoman and a Swede
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JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) -- Five Europeans rescued Saturday after an Indonesia diving trip went wrong had to fight off a Komodo dragon while they were waiting to be found, according to reports.

The group was found at Mantaolan, on the island of Rinca off the Komodo National Park, after going missing Thursday.

The divers -- three Britons, a Frenchman and a Swede -- spent two nights on the deserted island, which is home to the large Komodo dragon, before rangers found them Saturday.

Frenchman Laurent Pinel, 31, said the group had to fight off one dragon with rocks and scavenged for shellfish as they waited to be rescued, Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.

"On the beach a Komodo dragon came amongst us [Friday] afternoon," Pinel said, describing how the group had to pelt the dangerous reptile with rocks to scare it away.

"We had nothing to eat. We ate some kind of mussels scraped from the rocks," Pinel told the newspaper.

The husband of one of the other divers said he was told they were in good condition, although dehydrated.

"I'm just so relieved," said Mats Kohler, husband of Helena Neva Lainen. They are both from Sweden.

An official said they were being taken to a hospital for examination.

Searchers using boats located the missing divers at 11 a.m. Saturday (11 p.m. ET Friday), the official said.

They arrived at a hospital in Labuan Bajo, on the western tip of the island of Flores, about two hours later, an official said. Video Watch a report on the discovery of the missing group »

They were one of two groups of divers who entered the water off Komodo National Park on Thursday and were supposed to be gone for an hour, said an employee of the dive company, Reef Seekers. The second group came back after the hour passed, but the first group failed to resurface, she said.

Earlier, an official with the Komodo Divers Association said the group that returned comprised six snorkelers.


Among those who went missing was one of the owners of the dive company, Kathleen Mitchinson, the employee said.

The seas that the divers were in are known to be dangerous because of their strong tides, and that's one theory being investigated in the divers' disappearance, the employee said.

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