A chef, Harrison Odjegba Okene, survived three days at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean after his tugboat capsized 20 miles off the coast of Nigeria.
The 29-year-old was on board the Jascon-4, which was trying to stabilize an oil tanker filling up at a Chevron platform, when heavy ocean swells lead the vessel to sink.
As the ship descended further and further into the abyss Okene sought refuge and ultimately found himself wedged into a four-foot high air pocket that had formed in a washroom. He then waited at the bottom of the ocean for over 60 hours, praying that someone would arrive to save him.
The cook remarked that he was in the washroom when the tragedy, which saw the tugboat flip over, struck at 4:50 a.m. on May 26. Okene was the sole survivor of the disaster, as 10 others on board died, while another member of the crew was never found.
Okene has since discussed his survival, noting that he had to take sips of Coke in order to remain conscious. Okene was also only wearing his boxer shorts when it occurred, and he proclaimed that parts of his skin started to peel away because they were soaked in so much salt water.
“I was there in the water in total darkness just thinking it’s the end,” he admitted. “I kept thinking the water was going to fill up the room, but it did not.”
Okene added, “I was so hungry but mostly so, so thirsty. The salt water took the skin off my tongue.”
He then described the events, stating, “As I was coming out of the toilet it was pitch black so we were trying to link our way out to the water tidal (exit hatch). Three guys were in front of me and suddenly water rushed in full force. I saw the first one, the second one, the third one just washed away. I knew these guys were dead.”
Okene then felt the tugboat crash onto the ocean floor, 100 feet below the surface. He then waited to be rescued. Finally on May 28, he heard the divers and immediately looked to emit a noise that would allow them to find him.
“I heard a sound of a hammer hitting the vessel. Boom, boom, boom,” he explained. “I swam down and found a water dispenser. I pulled the water filter and I hammered the side of the vessel hoping someone would hear me. Then the diver must have heard a sound.”
Okene was finally pulled out at 7:32p.m. over 60 hours after the disaster occurred. He has since described his survival as a “miracle,” adding, “I don’t know what stopped the water from filling that room. I was calling on God. He did it. It was a miracle.”