When a South African scuba diving team made their way to search for dead bodies in a sunken Nigerian tugboat, they discovered something they weren't expecting at all - a man was alive.
Trapped in the boat for nearly three days without food, water or light, Nigerian cook Harrison Okene had miraculously survived the sinking, and he stuck his hand out to alert them of his presence.
Okene's astounding recovery, which took place in May, was documented by the rescue team and released on YouTube Monday. The tugboat, known as the Jascon 4, was owned by an oil company, and sank to a depth of about 100 feet after capsizing. Okene, 29, was the only survivor in a crew of 12.
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Reuters reports that Okene made it through the first day in a 4'-square toilet, holding on to the overturned washbasin to keep his head out of the water. The next day, he opened a door and swam into a bedroom, where he pulled off the wall paneling to create a tiny raft to lift himself out of the freezing water.
There, he found an air pocket, where he sat praying in the dark and drinking Coke to avoid dehydration.
"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," Okene describes in a statement. "I was so hungry but mostly so, so thirsty. The salt water took the skin off my tongue."
He adds, "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. I could smell them. The fish came in and began eating the bodies. I could hear the sound. It was horror." In the video, the rescue team provides Okene with a breathing mask shortly after discovering him, and are able to pull him from the boat in about five minutes.
Gizmodo reports that, after returning to solid ground, Okene was taken to a "hyperbaric chamber" to avoid decompression sickness and could not be exposed to daylight. Additionally, "he had so much nitrogen in his body that the doctors had to slowly reduce the pressure to avoid the creation of lethal gas bubbles in his body."
Two days later, he was ready to go home. He is currently doing well and has reunited with his family!