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June 7, 2008

Divers Fend Off Komodo Dragon While Awaiting Rescue

These stories rarely have a happy ending so it is great to see that five European divers who went missing days ago have been found alive. The group was part of a two team snorkeling team that went into the waters off of Jakarta, Indonesia. The divers consisted of three Britons, a Frenchman and a Swedish woman. Their dive took place on Thursday and they were not found until Saturday.

In between the dive and the rescue, the divers had to fight off a Komodo Dragon. This massive beast is one of the most dangerous creatures on the planet. The divers encountered the animal in the Komodo National Park and had to get out of harms way with their own.

The Komodo Dragon is the largest lizard on the planet. Since there are no predators of this lizard on the islands where it resides, due to evolution, the Komodo Dragon can grow over 8 feet long and weigh up to 200 pounds. With several poisonous bacteria in it’s saliva, the Komodo Dragon is not a predator you want to come up against.

The divers were dehydrated and said that they ate some type of mussels that they scrapped off of a rock. They were taken to a hospital and appear to be in decent health considering what they have been through.

This incident brings up the safety of diving tours. There will always be incidences with these types of adventures. We just can not control what the sea will do. The dive company, Reef Seekers expected the groups to be gone for an hour. One group returned but the other one did not. One of the divers, Kathleen Mitchinson is one of the owners. The groups were diving in a part of the ocean that is known for being very dangerous because of swift tides. Some think that the strong tide is the reason why the divers wee swept away.

The point at which the divers caught by a strong tide was where the Flores Sea meets the Indian Ocean. The two waters empty into one another at various times during the day creating impressive currents. If you survive the dive you will be treated to a breathtaking scene of an underwater paradise. However, if you get the bends or are swept away in a current, that beautiful view could end in death. There are some that are willing to take this chance even though accidents and close calls happen frequently.

In one account a diver said that his instructors told him after his dangerous dive that an experienced divers had gone missing just a week before. Isn’t this information that would be helpful to know before you take the plunge? I wonder how much information you are given as far as the risks you are taking before you dive? Are people clear on exactly how dangerous this can be?

This story ended happily but there were some moments when this looked like it was going to be another sad news headline. Before you go diving in dangerous waters, know what you are getting into.

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