Amazing Story of Nigerian Cook Who Survived Under Water 3 Days After Boat Mishap

Harrison Okene's survival story is truly remarkable, filled with moments of fear, hope, and an unwavering will to stay alive. At the age of 29, this Nigerian cook was on board a Jascon-4 tugboat when it capsized in the rough seas around 30 kilometers off the Nigerian coast). The boat was stabilizing an oil tanker, and had a crew of 12 people on board.

While the boat flipped over, Okene happened to be in the toilet and was struck on the head. Blood flowed from the wound sustained as a result just before the lights went out.

The rooms of the boat were locked as a security practice, as pirates often robbed the boats in that region. They locked the doors to keep the contents and the passengers safe.
Okene on board the Jascon-4 tug boat
This worked to everyone’s detriment, as the entire crew were asleep in their chamber except Okene. It was at this exact moment that he’d found himself on the toilet, and was literally sitting there when the boat got hit by the wave. He’d gotten up early and was getting ready to start cooking breakfast for the crew.

The jolting ship tossed him from the bathroom and bounced him around the ship as the boat aggressively sank down. When the vessel finally settled at the bottom of the ocean, Harrison was lucky enough to stumble into an air pocket.

He managed to find two mattresses to stack on top of each other, and stayed above the rising water in his tiny little chamber.

Okene will then spend the next 60 hours (nearly 3 days) floating in an air pocket

The diving crew that set out to collect the bodies from the shipwreck got to the boat almost exactly 60 hours after the vessel went down. Imagine the guy who found him? He was swimming through the ship’s interior when a hand reached out and touched him gently so as to not scare him.
Okene seen floating under water with the aid of an air pocket
Okene with the rescue team after nearly 60 hours under water
Okene was calm and cool, and just really grateful that they were there to rescue him. They had to be super careful with him, as he’d been in such deep water for so long. He had absorbed potentially fatal amounts of nitrogen, and if they brought him suddenly to the surface, he could have easily died from the bends.

The rescue mission then equipped him with a special suit and started his ascent back to life above water. He passed out on his way up but he survived to tell his story.

Okene would spend two days in a decompression chamber, where he suffered various trauma responses like nightmares and insatiable hunger but he made it. The trauma continued for quite a while. Sometimes he would wake up in the middle of the night feeling like his bed was sinking. Because of this, he swore never to go near the ocean agai
Incredibly, Okene is now a commercial diver
He soon let go of this fear by training to become a commercial diver in 2015.

Here's the beauty of the story: the rescue diver who recovered him from the bottom of the sea was the one to present him with his diploma after training.

It wasn’t a hobby that Okene wanted. Rather, he was motivated to become a rescue diver, to save the lives of others who found themselves in desperate straits underwater, as he had been.

Now Okene is an IMCA Class 2 Commercial Air Diver. His Facebook page has become an unofficial search and rescue tribute feed. Here, he expresses passionately how he wishes for changes in safety at sea. His YouTube channel has more than 2,000 subscribers.
Mr. Okene