Man survives 60 hours underwater after tugboat accident


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A tugboat accident trapped a man underwater for nearly 60 hours off the coast of Nigeria. Harrison Okene survived by using a four-foot-tall air bubble to breathe. The rest of crew, however, did not.

The ocean is an unforgiving beast. No one knows this better than Nigerian man Harrison Okene. Okene, a 29-year-old Nigerian cook aboard the Jascon-4 tugboat, was going to the bathroom when the boat was capsized at about 4:50 a.m. He was able to make it out, but was greeted with a rush of water. Okene and three other crew members tried to make it towards an exit, when the others were swept away by incoming water.

Okene was also knocked off his feet, but he was thrown into a bathroom attached to the ship’s officer cabin where he survived for a day. Okene clutched to an upside down water basin for dear life until he eventually made it to the officer’s cabin. According to Okene he could hear the sound of fish eating the other crew members. He stayed afloat by tearing the wood paneling from the wall and using it to create a makeshift raft.

Some 60 hours after being capsized, Okene was rescued by two South African divers. He needed to spend the next 60 hours in a decompression chamber to return his body pressure to normal.

Divers scoured the rest of the ship, which was 30 meters below the surface of the sea, but were only able to retrieve 10 of the 11 dead bodies, the remaining crew member was not found.
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