A video of a Nigerian man being rescued after spending three days submerged at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean emerged Tuesday via U.S. media.
The video, uploaded on YouTube by the Associated Press, shows the improbable salvation of a man named Harrison Odjegba Okene, who was a cook of an ill-fated ship that sank on May 26. His rescue was even unexpected by his saviors: the Dutch Company DCN Diving said that its divers were sent to the scene to look for bodies.
The miraculous survivor had been in the toilet when the sinking occurred. Okene said that after the vessel plunged, he found his way out of the toilet and into a cabin which “felt safe,” having secured some tools and a life vest.
After that, all he could do was wait.
“I started calling on the name of God. ... I started reminiscing on the verses I read before I slept,” he said in an interview with a Nigerian newspaper. Okene just had a single bottle of Coke to distract him from hunger, cold and the fear of impending death at a depth of 30 meters.
Some 72 hours after his entombment, help came at last. And just in time, too.
“He was incredibly lucky he was in an air pocket but he would have had a limited time ... (until) he wouldn’t be able to breathe anymore,” DCN Diving’s project manager Tony Walker told the Associated Press.
Months after his rescue, Okene said that he still believes it was divine intervention that saved him from the brink of death. The 11 other sailors aboard the ship died, and his relatives were told that he had died, too.
By Yoon Min-sik and news reports