"They were sitting in the forest when we saw them, and they just ran to us without saying anything," said a police inspector in Campbell Bay.
A police team had been looking for bodies on the island. It landed at the southernmost tip and began to trek into the hinterland. The survivors were spotted eight miles inland.
The group - five males, two women and two teenage girls - are aged between 11 and 65 and from the Nicobarese tribe. They lived in the village of Pillowbhabhi on the western coast of the island.
"When the tsunami came, they had climbed on to a hill. They kept walking, they got lost, and were wandering in the forest, resting, then walking again," the inspector said. "They had travelled from the western side of the island to the eastern side, until we saved them."
wA JUDGE yesterday ordered a DNA test on "Baby 81", an infant survivor of the tsunami whom a Sri Lankan couple claim is their child. Jenita Jeyarajah, 25, and her husband, Murugupillai Jeyarajah, must now wait two months before discovering whether they are the parents of the boy, who was found on a beach hours after the waves hit.
Ms Jeyarajah yesterday stormed into the hospital where the baby has been kept since the disaster, pleading: "Please give us our baby!", before dropping to her knees at the feet of the head nurse. The couple and two supporters were arrested and held briefly by police. It is most closely watched custody case in the tsunami disaster zone.