Nigerian Tugboat Cook Survives 3 Days at the Bottom of the Atlantic Ocean

Harrison Odjegba Okene being rescued
Harrison Odjegba Okene being rescued

A dive team had gone to the sunken tugboat to retrieve bodies.

What they found, 100 feet down at the bottom of the Atlantic, was a lone survivor in an air bubble in the sunken vessel. The diver saw a hand, which, he assumed, was that of a corpse, but when a diver reached out and touched the hand, he was grabbed in return.


Harrison Odjegba Okene, a cook aboard the tugboat Jascon 4, came out alive after spending 72 hours underwater. All he had for food and drink was a bottle of Coke. His other colleagues, 11 of them, died, the Washington Post reports. A video of his incredible rescue, which occurred more than six months ago, recently went viral.

"It was frightening for everybody," Tony Walker, a project manager for DCN Diving, a Dutch company, told the Post about the incident Tuesday. "For the guy that was trapped, because he didn’t know what was happening. It was a shock for the diver while he was down there looking for bodies, and we [in the control room] shot back when the hand grabbed him on the screen."

After they got over the initial shock, shouts of "He’s alive!" could be heard on the video. According to Walker, Okene was discovered in the nick of time, since his oxygen was about to run out.

"He was incredibly lucky. He was in an air pocket, but he would have had a limited time [before] … he wouldn’t be able to breathe anymore," Walker said. 

"I started calling on the name of God," Okene said in an interview with Nigeria’s Nation newspaper after his rescue, the Post noted. "I started reminiscing on the verses I read before I slept. I read the Bible from Psalms 54 to 92. My wife had sent me the verses to read that night when she called me before I went to bed."

Read nore at the Washington Post.