Ship Cook Survives Underwater For 2 Days

Survived in an air bubble

    Photo: Sergey Dubrov/Shutterstock

A Nigerian cook sat in darkness, breathing through a four-foot-high air pocket, for almost 60 hours after his tugboat capsized off Nigeria’s coast. Divers were shocked to find him alive in the wreck, which had plunged almost 100 feet under the water.

Harrison Okene, 29, said he had been in the toilet on May 26 when the vessel overturned in heavy swells. He was swept into another room containing an air bubble as fellow crewmembers were sucked into the sea. Okene says he cried and prayed for two days as water seeped in around him. “The fish came in and began eating the bodies,” he said. “I could hear the sound. It was horror.”

Okene was able to get the attention of a diving team sent to search the wreck, and after reaching the surface he spent 60 hours in a decompression chamber. His body had absorbed potentially fatal amounts of nitrogen remaining at a depth at which most recreational divers would spend no more than 20 minutes. “To survive that long at that depth is phenomenal,” said a representative from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors. Though Okene says he still suffers from nightmares, he has made a remarkable recovery.

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