How a Shipwreck Victim Who Nearly Drowned Now Braves the Depths of the Ocean

What number of nightmares are you able to cram into one scenario earlier than it appears so far-fetched that it’s onerous to even think about?

Would the specter of drowning, being trapped in a confined house, in absolute darkness, and the potential for being eaten by sharks hit that mark?

That’s the precise nightmare scenario a 29-year-old Nigerian man named Harrison Okene discovered himself beginning in in the course of the early morning hours of Might 26, 2013.

“Beginning” is essential to emphasize right here as a result of Okene would find yourself spending shut to a few days practically 100 toes under the floor of the ocean, trapped in a room in a sunken boat and with nearly no hope of surviving.

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The extra you come to study Harrison Okene’s stunning ordeal, the extra you’ll admire the resilience and can of this man — and once you study what he ended up selecting as his profession within the years after the harrowing days spent caught in a sunken ship, you’ll solely admire him all of the extra.

A Freak Wave and a Tragic Accident

Harrison Okene was a crewmember of a tugboat referred to as the Jascon-4, per 9 Information, which was on the time charged with serving to tankers ferry gasoline oil from offshore oil platforms operated by Chevron.

Okene and his fellow seamen had years of expertise plying the waters of the Atlantic Ocean off the Nigerian coast, thus nobody had any cause to suspect that late Might day would show a fateful one.

Nearly everybody on the vessel was asleep that early morning when Okene arose and headed to the toilet earlier than starting his shift working because the ship’s cook dinner. It was then {that a} rogue wave smashed into the Jascon-4, capsizing the boat which instantly started to tackle water and sink.

Thrown violently about however nonetheless in a position to acquire his toes, Okene struggled to discover a option to escape the sinking boat, however each door he encountered was locked: a normal process meant to maintain the slumbering crew secure towards pirates who might have tried to raid the ship. But it surely additionally, sadly, prevented any likelihood of Okene getting out of the Jascon-4 earlier than it sank all the best way to the underside of the Atlantic Ocean.

Okene discovered himself caught in a nook of an officer’s cabin, relegated to a pocket of air that had been trapped within the room because the boat sank after which settled on the seafloor.

He had no thought then that his ordeal was removed from over — in reality, it was simply starting.

60 Hours of Quiet Terror

Because the Jascon-4 settled down onto the underside of the ocean roughly 20 miles off the coast of Africa, Okene assumed all the opposite members of the 12-man crew should have escaped from the doomed ship. He wouldn’t study for a lot of days that, in reality, he can be the only real survivor.

His survival ordeal started that morning, however it will final for a ghastly 60 extra hours.

Throughout that point, Okene went fully with out meals or water. He was miserably chilly. He was fully in darkness. However he was not alone.

Greater than as soon as throughout his practically three days trapped underwater, Okene described listening to aquatic animals shifting about within the boat and what he recognized as, per 9 News, “the chunk of fish,” which can nicely have been sharks feeding on the our bodies of crewmen deceased in adjoining rooms.

With time a blur and his energy fading, Okene quickly gave up a lot hope of constructing it out of the boat alive. He tried many instances to free himself, following a rope via the darkish, water-filled wreck, however each time he was compelled to return to his little air pocket and easily watch for the tip to come back.

When it did, it was not within the type of loss of life, however of rescue.

“He’s Alive! He’s Alive!” — A Miracle Underneath the Sea

Roughly 60 hours after the Jascon-4 had capsized and sank, South African rescue and restoration diver Nico van Heerden made his manner into the ship. van Heerden and his fellow divers weren’t there as a part of a rescue operation, thoughts you — they’d been tasked by Chevron to get better the our bodies of the boys misplaced within the accident.

The second van Heerden entered the house the place Harrison Okene was trapped was one neither man will ever neglect, and amazingly it’s one thousands and thousands of others will lengthy bear in mind as nicely, as a result of Nico van Heerden had a digital camera operating on the time.

Watching the video of van Heerden discovering Okene brings chills to the backbone and a tear to the attention. From the murky depths earlier than the diver’s masks, a hand slowly emerges. The voice of a person watching van Heerden’s video feed says by way of radio: “Alright, we discovered one,” which means a physique.

However then the hand closes across the diver’s glove, and in pure shock, van Heerden exclaims: “He’s alive! He’s alive!”

Gently holding Okene’s hand, van Heerden emerges from the water into the pocket of air and the digital camera finds Okene’s face finally. His expression is one mixing full exhaustion, disbelief, aid, and marvel.

Harrison slowly shakes his head backward and forward, then settles again as if too overwhelmed even to sit down upright. Overwhelmed, and wanting air: it’s seemingly he would have succumbed to hypercapnia and died because of built-up CO2 inside a mere matter of hours.

His life had been saved, however the ordeal was not over.

A sluggish journey up and a brand new path in life

As a result of Harrison Okene had been underwater for practically three days, he needed to be delivered to the floor very slowly to scale back the danger of decompression illness —— generally referred to as the bends — and he was given a particular combination of oxygen and helium to breathe.

Regardless of being an inexperienced diver, Harrison did nicely as he donned scuba gear and was led from the boat and slowly helped to ascend to the floor. Above the water, Okene needed to spend practically three days in a decompression chamber, by which he was given loads of meals, water, and medicine.

Lastly freed from the depths and launched from the decompression chamber, Harrison Okene was reunited along with his spouse and the remainder of his household.

Affected by nightmares and traumatized by his expertise, Okene at first vowed by no means to return to the ocean. However then, over time, an incredible factor occurred: fairly than repelling him, the ocean was calling to him.

Impressed by the boys who saved his life, Okene started to coach as a diver himself. And only a few brief years after practically dying 90 toes under the surface of the sea, he was a diver rated to go right down to 150 toes under it.

In the present day, Harrison Okene is an official IMCA (Worldwide Marine Contractors Affiliation) Class II licensed diver.

He’s rated to work on and across the very oil rigs serviced by the ships he and his crew as soon as tended to, to dive on wrecks, and, if ever wanted, to take part in rescue efforts.

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Tha Bosslady

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