Life doesn’t always work out the way you want it to. Maybe you didn’t get that promotion, or maybe, if you’re anything like Harrison Okene, the ship you were working on capsized, sunk, and left you trapped inside of a rapidly shrinking air bubble for three days.
It might sound insane, but this actually happened. Okene had to survive for three days inside of a capsized boat at the bottom of the ocean before being rescued.
Okene was working as a cook on a tug boat operating off the coast of Nigeria when it happened. In May of 2013, the boat was pulling an oil tanker when a sudden wave caused it to flip over and sink.
At the time of impact, most of the crew was asleep. They were routinely locked in the cabins at night as an anti-piracy measure. This ultimately sealed their fate. Because they could not escape the rising waters, they all died. Okene was in the bathroom when the wave hit, and as the ship was sinking, he managed to get out of the bathroom and into the engineer’s office. Once inside, he found a pocket of air.
Okene found a bottle of Coca-Cola and a life vest with two small flashlights attached.
Even though he was safe for the moment, he could make out the sounds of sharks eating the remains of his crew mates through the walls. At that point, his chances of survival were slim. That being said, he had a few things working in his favor.
First and foremost, there was his air supply.
The average human inhales about 350 cubic feet of air every 24 hours. Even though Okene was stuck in a small area, the ocean pressurized the air in that space, making it last longer. Beyond that, he had to worry about inhaling too much carbon dioxide. Water absorbs carbon dioxide, and Okene had plenty of that in there with him.
Hypothermia was also of the utmost concern.
Luckily for Okene, he had constructed a small platform inside the engineer’s office that kept him just above the water. If he hadn’t done that, freezing temperatures would have killed him in a matter of hours.
All of those factors worked together to keep Okene alive long enough for a team of rescue divers to find him when they were searching the wreckage for bodies.
The dramatic moment of the man’s discovery and rescue were captured by one of the divers.
(via Live Science)
The divers transported Okene to the surface using a special decompression chamber. Talk about a dramatic story! I cannot imagine a more terrifying situation than that.
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