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As American Jan Peters is driven to her great-grandmother's house in deepest Africa after a ten-year absence, a man stands motionless in the road, refusing to move, and the chauffeur, Sam, drives right over him, stating that he is "one of them." In the bay offshore, meanwhile, George Harrison, the owner of a salvage ship, his flirtatious wife Mona, scientist Dr. Jonathan Eggert, diver Jeff Clark and the rest of the crew discuss their hunt to retrieve a trove of missing diamonds that sunk with the sloop The Susan B years earlier. Their conversation is interrupted when a zombie climbs out of the water and kills one of the crew. George and the others take the dead man to shore, where Mrs. Peters, Jan's great-grandmother, shows them the graves of previous diamond hunters, all killed by zombies. Mrs. Peters then recounts the story of how the crew of The Susan B stole the uncut diamonds from a nearby temple in 1894. Ten men were killed in a fight over the gems, and those men rose from the dead to guard the diamonds, sinking the ship and killing the crew. Among the undead is Mrs. Peters' late husband, Capt. Peters. Later, in the seclusion of her living room, Mrs. Peters confides to Jan that she hopes George and his expedition will destroy the diamonds, thus allowing her late husband to rest. Afterward, Jan asks Jeff to help her find the man run over by Sam, but when they return to the accident scene, all they find is seaweed and water. Suddenly, a zombie springs from the brush, slings Jan over his shoulder and stalks off with her. Jeff follows the zombie to a mausoleum that houses the coffins of the undead. Having been told by Mrs. Peters that the creatures are afraid of fire, Jeff disperses them with his torch and rescues Jan. Back at the house, Jeff describes the mausoleum to the others and announces that he has decided to give up the diamond hunt, but George changes his mind by increasing his share to 50%. The next day, Jeff dons his diving suit and descends to the bottom of the bay, where he finds The Susan B . As Jeff begins to pry open the ship's hold, he is surrounded by zombies, who detach the air hose from his suit. Barely alive, Jeff is hauled up to the surface and taken to Mrs. Peters' house, where a concerned Jan takes care of him. Mona, who has romantic designs on Jeff, bursts into his room and accuses Jan of trying to steal him from her. Furious at his brazen wife, George chases Mona out of the house, and when she fails to return, Mrs. Peters speculates that the zombies have captured her. George and now recovered Jeff then drive into the jungle in search of Mona, and when they break into the mausoleum, the zombies rise from their caskets to surround Mona's dead body, which is sprawled across the floor. While Jeff holds off the zombies by firing flares, Mona rises from the dead, and George pulls her out of the mausoleum and takes her to Mrs. Peters' house. When Mrs. Peters declares that Mona is dead, George, unable to accept his wife's demise, puts her to bed. Later that night, Mona rises in a trance-like state, stabs one crew member and attacks another. Imprisoning Mona in a circle of lit candles, Jeff decides to use fire to hold off the zombies while he dives for the treasure. After setting a blaze in front of the mausoleum, Jeff descends into the waters of the bay while George accompanies him with a torch. When Jeff enters the ship's hold, several zombies surround George after he instructs the ship's crew to haul him up the surface. Once Jeff has secured the treasure chest, the zombies attack, but he fends them off with a torch and reaches the ship with the diamonds. Jeff and George take refuge in a locked cabin, but when the zombies begin to beat down the door, Jeff grabs the diamonds and heads to shore, followed by the walking dead. At Mrs. Peters' house, Jeff pries open the chest, and soon after, George arrives and demands the diamonds. Jeff then hands over the chest, which George uses to lure Mona to his launch. As George is about to climb onboard, Mona picks up the chest and slams it into his head, then walks away with her fellow zombies. Back at the house, meanwhile, Mrs. Peters admonishes Jeff, who removed the diamonds from the chest before giving it to George, to destroy the jewels. Bent on riches, Jeff instead schemes to sell the gems, but when he asks Jan to marry him, she refuses unless he abandons the diamonds. Jeff then insists that the women leave with him, but as they board the launch, the angry zombies march toward them and Mrs. Peters spots her late husband among them. After she calls out to Capt. Peters, Jeff hands her the diamonds, and she casts them into the sea, causing all the zombies to crumble into dust.