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Battling Komodo Dragons to Survive

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Picture this: You’re on a diving trip in Indonesia, when you surface and realize that your boat can’t be found. You’re stranded in the middle of the ocean with four other companions, far from help or rescue. That’s bad.

But then you’re swept to a beautiful island, where you subsist on mussels scraped off of rocks. That’s not so bad.

But then you and your fellow survivors realize that said island is infested with toxic, man-eating lizards which you’ll spend two days fighting off before rescue. That’s really bad.

Five European divers on a reef trip off Komodo National Park in Indonesia actually survived this ordeal, ensuring that they’ll have vacation stories the neighbors will actually want to hear. After getting separated from their tour group by strong tides, a Frenchman, a Swede, and three Brits (including one of the tour operators) washed up on the island of Rinca — home territory for fearsome Komodo dragons. They spent two nights foraging for shellfish and battling back hungry lizards with makeshift weapons like rocks. 

Eventually, park rangers rescued the divers and got them off the island; other than being mildly dehydrated, they’re reported to be in good health. That’s quite lucky, since Komodo dragons can grow 10 feet long, weigh 300 pounds, and kill you with either 1-inch long fangs or their bacteria-infused saliva, which induces septicemia in their unfortunate victims. Also, they usually start eating their prey before it dies.

Though it’s true these unfortunate people endured a horrific experience, they didn’t emerge empty-handed: As a consolation prize for their troubles, they can go forward in life knowing that they’re guaranteed to have the best cocktail party stories of all time.

“Oh, you have a really strong portfolio going into the third quarter? Fantastic. Did I mention I survived for two days on a deserted island filled with giant lizards trying to eat my face off? It was pretty cool.”

— Ted Alvarez

Divers battled komodo dragon before rescue (CNN)