On May 26, Harrison Okene, 29, was aboard a Chevron oil boat named the AHT Jascon-4 in the Atlantic Ocean, just off the coast of Nigeria, when it began to sway and eventually capsize.
For 3 days, Okene, who had been thrown from a bathroom when the boat turned over, managed to survive in a tiny air pocket 100 feet underwater without light, food or water, until he was miraculously rescued by a crew on a body recovery mission.
Okene explains the moments before the ship went down to The Guardian:
“It was around 5am and I was on the toilet when the vessel just started going down – the speed was so, so fast,” Okene said by phone from his hometown of Warri. Scrambling out, he was unable to reach an emergency exit hatch and watched in horror as three crew members were sucked into the churning sea.
The water swept him into another toilet as the boat plunged 30 metres into the freezing depths. Wearing only his underpants, Okene prayed as water seeped slowly but steadily into a 4ft sq air bubble in the cabin.
“All around me was just black, and noisy. I was crying and calling on Jesus to rescue me, I prayed so hard. I was so hungry and thirsty and cold and I was just praying to see some kind of light.”
See the dramatic rescue footage below:
Read experts weigh in on how he survived the ordeal at Slate.com.