Moment man was found alive after being trapped 160ft underwater in a capsized boat for three days

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By stefan armitage

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On a tempestuous Sunday morning in May 2013, as dawn broke off the Nigerian coast, a tale of unbelievable survival unfolded.

Harrison Okene, a cook onboard a tugboat on a mission to secure fuel from a Chevron oil platform, found himself in the midst of a disaster.

An unexpected gigantic wave capsized his crew's vessel, sending it 160ft into the ocean depths. Okene would find himself trapped at the bottom of the Atlantic for over 60 grueling hours before a miraculous rescue took place, 9News reports.

In a surprising twist, it was a bathroom break that saved Okene's life. While the rest of the crew was locked in their rooms, unable to escape as the ship sank, Okene was able to react. As the ship capsized, he sought safety via the emergency hatch. However, a surge of water swept him into a bathroom, trapping him in a small air pocket that proved to be his lifesaver.

In this eerie pitch-black bubble of air, Okene clung to life. He ingeniously crafted a makeshift raft from two mattresses, staying afloat in his confined space as hours stretched into days. No food, no light, and limited oxygen – his circumstances were bleak, but his spirit remained unbroken.

"Underwater it was so, so, so, cold," he later shared with 9News, detailing his attempts to find an escape route while using a rope as a guide back to the air pocket. Despite the grim outlook, his thoughts turned to his family, his life, and above all, his survival. "I was praying a lot," he admitted.

Check out Okene's incredible rescue below: 

Days later, rescue came in an unexpected form - a diving crew sent by Chevron to recover the bodies of the deceased. Hearing them aboard the wreck, Okene used what little energy he had left to signal for help, and was met with a sight he had almost lost hope of seeing again; light.

The torch belonged to South African diver Nico van Heerden. Okene managed to tap on his gear, a moment caught on camera.

His relief was overwhelming. "When he came I was just crying," he said. Despite the uncertainty of survival, he confessed, "I had been ready to go [but] God heard my prayers."

The rescue mission was intricate. Wearing a special suit, Okene was ascended back to life above the water, followed by a two-day stay in a decompression chamber to prevent the fatal bends. Despite trauma responses such as nightmares and unquenchable hunger, Okene emerged as a survivor.

Alex Gibbs, the life support technician who assisted Okene during his recovery, reflected on the miraculous chain of events that led to his survival. "So many coincidences had to happen to make this possible," Gibbs said.

Conquering his fears, Okene later became a qualified commercial diver in 2015, receiving his diploma from none other than van Heerden, the diver who had first shone the light on his dire situation.

Okene's message for those fighting for survival is a testament to his indomitable spirit. "The fear alone can kill you. I took fear off me, and I believed that 'what will be, will be'. Believe in yourself and keep your faith and your mind strong."

Featured image credit: YouTube (Screenshot)

Moment man was found alive after being trapped 160ft underwater in a capsized boat for three days

vt-author-image

By stefan armitage

Article saved!Article saved!

On a tempestuous Sunday morning in May 2013, as dawn broke off the Nigerian coast, a tale of unbelievable survival unfolded.

Harrison Okene, a cook onboard a tugboat on a mission to secure fuel from a Chevron oil platform, found himself in the midst of a disaster.

An unexpected gigantic wave capsized his crew's vessel, sending it 160ft into the ocean depths. Okene would find himself trapped at the bottom of the Atlantic for over 60 grueling hours before a miraculous rescue took place, 9News reports.

In a surprising twist, it was a bathroom break that saved Okene's life. While the rest of the crew was locked in their rooms, unable to escape as the ship sank, Okene was able to react. As the ship capsized, he sought safety via the emergency hatch. However, a surge of water swept him into a bathroom, trapping him in a small air pocket that proved to be his lifesaver.

In this eerie pitch-black bubble of air, Okene clung to life. He ingeniously crafted a makeshift raft from two mattresses, staying afloat in his confined space as hours stretched into days. No food, no light, and limited oxygen – his circumstances were bleak, but his spirit remained unbroken.

"Underwater it was so, so, so, cold," he later shared with 9News, detailing his attempts to find an escape route while using a rope as a guide back to the air pocket. Despite the grim outlook, his thoughts turned to his family, his life, and above all, his survival. "I was praying a lot," he admitted.

Check out Okene's incredible rescue below: 

Days later, rescue came in an unexpected form - a diving crew sent by Chevron to recover the bodies of the deceased. Hearing them aboard the wreck, Okene used what little energy he had left to signal for help, and was met with a sight he had almost lost hope of seeing again; light.

The torch belonged to South African diver Nico van Heerden. Okene managed to tap on his gear, a moment caught on camera.

His relief was overwhelming. "When he came I was just crying," he said. Despite the uncertainty of survival, he confessed, "I had been ready to go [but] God heard my prayers."

The rescue mission was intricate. Wearing a special suit, Okene was ascended back to life above the water, followed by a two-day stay in a decompression chamber to prevent the fatal bends. Despite trauma responses such as nightmares and unquenchable hunger, Okene emerged as a survivor.

Alex Gibbs, the life support technician who assisted Okene during his recovery, reflected on the miraculous chain of events that led to his survival. "So many coincidences had to happen to make this possible," Gibbs said.

Conquering his fears, Okene later became a qualified commercial diver in 2015, receiving his diploma from none other than van Heerden, the diver who had first shone the light on his dire situation.

Okene's message for those fighting for survival is a testament to his indomitable spirit. "The fear alone can kill you. I took fear off me, and I believed that 'what will be, will be'. Believe in yourself and keep your faith and your mind strong."

Featured image credit: YouTube (Screenshot)