INDONESIA

Fight for survival for elderly woman attacked by Komodo dragon on Rinca Island

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 April, 2013, 8:55am
AFP

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An 83-year-old Indonesian told yesterday how she faced a "fight for survival" when a Komodo dragon pounced and sunk its teeth into her.

Haisah was sitting on the ground outside her house on Rinca Island when the twometre-long reptile sprang at her.

"All of a sudden, a Komodo bit my right hand," she said from hospital. "I have no idea which direction it came from.

"A knife fell from my right hand as the Komodo sunk its teeth into my wrist. There was nobody else around and I knew that I faced a fight for survival."

A knife fell from my right hand as the Komodo sunk its teeth into my wrist. There was nobody else around and I knew that I faced a fight for survival

She repelled the attack with her legs: "I kicked the Komodo on one its front legs with all my strength, it was only one kick but it made the Komodo let go of my hand, then I screamed for help."

Haisah, who goes by one name, spoke through her son, who translated the local dialect into Indonesian. Her wrist was seriously wounded during Tuesday's attack and she needed 35 stitches at the hospital in Labuan Bajo town, he said.

"I'm doing fine now. I hope my hand will return to normal so that I can make brooms again," she said, adding limited movement had returned to her hand after it was initially paralysed.

In February, one of the reptiles bit a tour guide's leg as he was trekking on Rinca. The same month, one attacked two employees of the Komodo National Park, inflicting serious injuries.

Recent research found that the dragons' jaws have highly sophisticated poison glands that can cause paralysis, spasms and shock through haemorrhaging.