Please select your home edition
Edition
X-Yachts AUS X4 728 - 1

Survival story of the week- Rescue after two days in air bubble

by K P Waran on 17 Jun 2013
Diver and sunken boat - photo from story by Marc Aumarc .. .
Truth, as we know, can be stranger than fiction, but some stories told as true, almost defy belief. As a cruising sailor, going to the bottom of the ocean in your boat is every mariner's nightmare, but here, from Africa, comes the story of amazing survival by a crew member on a tug boat, sent to the bottom by a giant wave.

29-year-old Harrison Okene, a cook on the Jascon-4 tugboat crew in Nigeria, was below decks cooking some meat pies in stormy weather when a large wave capsized the boat off the coast of Delta State. It rolled and sank to the bottom, 30 metres below, with Harrison and many of the rest of the crew trapped inside.

What happened next is what is incredible. Harrison survived for over than two days by breathing from a four foot tall air bubble in a bathroom. His description of the ordeal is almost unbelievable.

He told the story to David Tracy of Jalopnik: 'I was there in the water in total darkness just thinking it's the end. I kept thinking the water was going to fill up the room but it did not...I was so hungry but mostly so, so thirsty. The salt water took the skin off my tongue.'

Okene used an overturned washbasin to stay afloat, but the cold water was taking its toll. He decided to leave his air bubble to build a raft out of wall paneling. What greeted him as soon as he left the bathroom was terrifying.

'I was very, very cold and it was black. I couldn't see anything...But I could perceive the dead bodies of my crew were nearby. The fish came in and began eating the bodies. I could hear the sound. It was a horror.'

After about 60 hours stuck in a ship at the bottom of the ocean, Okene heard a sound.

'I heard a sound of a hammer hitting the vessel. Boom, boom, boom. I swam down and found a water dispenser. I pulled the water filter and I hammered the side of the vessel hoping someone would hear me. Then the diver must have heard a sound.'

Seeing that a diver was about to swim past his room, Okene jumped into the water and tapped the diver on the shoulder. The diver gave Okene an oxygen mask, and after more than two days under the ocean, Okene made it to the surface. The same cannot be said about ten of his crew members, who were found dead in the wreckage. One of his crew members is still missing.

Okene had to go through over 60 hours of decompression to safely get his body pressure back to normal. While he's physically fully recovered, he still has nightmares about the ordeal.

Hall Spars - Mastupffront 660x82Festival of Sails 2017 660x82

Related Articles

The Clipper Race turns 20!
Throughout the race, tales of crew celebrating birthdays on board filter back and they are always a special occasion Throughout the race, tales of Clipper Race crew celebrating their birthdays on board filter back and they are always a special occasion, likely to remain a completely unique event in their lifetime.
Posted on 23 Aug
America's Cup - Architect of NZ Qualifier withdrawal steps down
The Commissioner for the America's Cup General Dr. Harvey Schiller has stepped down from the role The Commissioner for the America's Cup General Dr. Harvey Schiller has stepped down from the role and will finish at the end of the month. The move was confirmed today by America's Cup correspondent Bernie Wilson of the Associated Press.
Posted on 23 Aug
PredictWind - One stop shop
PredictWind have taken the bold step of adding government provided forecasts to their award winning forecasting software PredictWind the world leader in forecasting believe that more is better, and have taken the bold step of adding government provided forecasts to their award winning forecasting software.
Posted on 15 Aug
Rio 2016 - Fresher breezes expected inside and outside on Day 3
Stronger winds are expected for the third day of racing in the 2016 Olympic Sailing Regatta in Rio de Janeiro. Stronger winds are expected for the third day of racing in the 2016 Olympic Sailing Regatta in Rio de Janeiro. Two of the fleet scheduled to race outside on the Atlantic Ocean course off Copacabana Beach, while the 470 Men and Women will race inside on Guananara Bay.
Posted on 10 Aug
Ross Ham - First double circumnavigator in Clipper Race history
The conclusion of the Clipper 2015-16 Race enrolled 106 crew members into our exclusive circumnavigator club The conclusion of the Clipper 2015-16 Race enrolled 106 crew members into our exclusive circumnavigator club, but not content with this achievement on its own, Australian crew member Ross Ham, 59, has just become the first double circumnavigator in the history of the race.
Posted on 6 Aug
Mission Performance wins Henri Lloyd Clipper Race Seamanship Award
As the teams returned to the UK capital at the weekend one of the twelve teams was presented with a very special award. Mission Performance crew member Gavin Reid and his team were presented with the honour by Henri Lloyd joint CEO Paul Strzelecki. The award was voted for by the public after the team went to the assistance of a yacht in distress during Race 6: The Henri Lloyd Hobart to Whitsundays Race.
Posted on 1 Aug
Superyacht Cygnus Montanus glides out of Auckland destined for Sweden
Cygnus Montanus is the first new build by Yachting Developments in four years. She departed New Zealand in July. Cygnus Montanus is the first new build by Yachting Developments in four years. After starting her design life as a cafe racer, for a Swedish owner, she became orientated more towards ocean passages. She is a step up in size from the owners' previous yacht, of the same name, a Swan 77. Built in West Auckland, the hull, spars and sails all came from companies just a few kilometres apart.
Posted on 31 Jul
British entries on podium as Clipper Race returns after 11 months
UK entries triumphed to take all three podium places in the toughest edition yet of the longest ocean race on the planet Thousands of spectators lined the River Thames and packed St Katharine Docks to welcome home over 250 crew, representing 44 different nationalities, many of whom have been at sea for eleven months racing between six continents in the only challenge of its kind for amateur sailors.
Posted on 30 Jul
LMAX Exchange wins the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race
LMAX Exchange was confirmed last night as winner of Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race. LMAX Exchange, skippered by Frenchman Olivier Cardin, was confirmed last night as winner of the tenth edition of the world’s longest ocean race, the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race.
Posted on 30 Jul
Clipper Race – Constant trimming and little sleep in the North Sea
There is little opportunity for tactical moves and the timings of tacks are crucial if teams want to make vital gains. After a downwind start with spinnakers trimmed in light airs against the tide off Den Helder on the Dutch coast yesterday, the fleet has been match racing across the North Sea towards the Thames Estuary.
Posted on 29 Jul