Four Dutch nationals have been rescued after spending last night lost and clinging to mangroves in Darwin with a crocodile lurking nearby.
The four Dutch men were laying mud crab traps when their boat overturned in Darwin Harbour yesterday.
As they tried to right their 5.5m tinny, they spotted a croc in the water nearby.
"It scared the s--- out of us," 34-year-old Michiel Muller told NT News.
The men spent all day and all night in the mangroves, climbing the largest tree they could find for safety.
"None of them got any sleep, they were hanging on for their lives," CareFlight director Ian Badham told ninemsn.
"They kept a level head and that's really saved them from what could have been a horrible situation."
As the tide went out this morning, the fishermen were able to get back to their boat and set off its emergency beacon at 8am.
They were rescued by CareFlight, police and a commercial helicopter about one hour later.
The choppers winched the men up one at a time and flew them to a sand bar where they could be checked by a nurse.
They were later taken to Darwin Airport.
Mr Badham said the men, who were only wearing shorts and T-shirts, had been "eaten alive" by insects and were exhausted but were otherwise unhurt.
Source: CareFlight director Ian Badham, NT News
Author: Alexandra Pleffer, Approving editor: Mark Worley