Certainly the divers charged with recovering the bodies of sailors lost in a 3-day old shipwreck never expected to find a man alive.
The Jascon 4 tug had been guiding a Chevron oil tanker off the Nigerian coast in high seas when it capsized. The other 11 souls on board were locked in their rooms to keep safe from pirates, Nicole Pryor of New Zealand web publication Stuff reports.
Harrison Okene, the ship’s cook, survived in an air bubble when he found his way to the bathroom.
Somehow Okene survived, breathing inside a 1.2-metre-high bubble of air as it shrunk in the waters slowly rising from the ceiling of the tiny toilet and adjoining bedroom where he sought refuge, until two South African divers eventually rescued him.
The video just surfaced on the web recently. It shows the diver searching for bodies and coming upon a terrified and visibly distraught Okene.
“I was very, very cold and it was black. I couldn’t see anything,” Okene told Stuff. “But I could perceive the dead bodies of my crew were nearby. I could smell them. The fish came in and began eating the bodies. I could hear the sound. It was horror.”
Here’s the moment the controller (heard audibly over the microphone) and diver find Okene.
The controller — quite clinically — thinks at first they’ve just found a body. But then the hand reaches out and grabs the diver.
“He’s alive, he’s alive!” The controller yells. “Hold him there, OK? Hold him there.”
Then the diver surfaces to reveal the air bubble and a ghostly Okene.
“Just keep him there, keep him calm, OK? Just reassure him, pat him on the shoulder,” the controller says. “Just reassure him, give him a thumbs up, reassure him.”
The recovery team then figures they’ll fit him with scuba gear and slowly bring him up the 30 meter depth.
The rest is history: now Okene, 29, is living well with his family.
Here is the entire video:
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