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This Man Survived 60 Hours in the Atlantic Ocean

By Orgesta Tolaj


15 December 2023

man survived Atlantic Ocean

© fasc1nate / Twitter & Marcelo Cidrack / Unsplash

Stranded in freezing waters and clad only in his boxer shorts, a Nigerian man managed to endure over 60 hours at the ocean’s depths, trapped in an upended tugboat. His remarkable survival was solely dependent on the discovery of an air pocket within the sunken vessel. This is Harrison Odjegba Okene, the man who survived the Atlantic Ocean with little air and food.

Man Was Trapped in the Atlantic Ocean

Harrison Odjegba Okene’s ordeal started around 4:30 a.m. on May 26. The tugboat he was on, part of a convoy towing an oil tanker in Nigeria’s Delta waters, abruptly fell over. Initially in the toilet, Okene was thrown around as the boat overturned. In the darkness, he groped his way out. He was searching for an opening and collecting tools and a life vest with flashlights. Once he found a secure cabin in the submerged vessel, he began a prolonged wait. He grew colder and reflected on his life, including thoughts of his mother, friends, and his wife. He had married his wife five years earlier but had not yet had children with her.

man survived Atlantic Ocean
© itsoofficalharrison_o / Instagram

During his ordeal, Okene expressed concern for his colleagues, which included 10 Nigerians and the Ukrainian captain, including four young cadets from Nigeria’s Maritime Academy. Knowing the standard procedure in pirate-prone areas, he feared they had locked themselves in their cabins. His anxiety heightened when he heard the sounds of fish, possibly sharks or barracudas, indicating a struggle over something substantial. To cope with rising waters, Okene constructed a makeshift rack on top of a platform and stacked two mattresses on it.

How This Man Survived Deep Waters in the Atlantic Ocean

Harrison Odjegba Okene, a Nigerian cook, miraculously survived being trapped at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in an upended tugboat for three days. He prayed for a miracle as he breathed from a diminishing air supply in an air pocket. Rescued in May, a video of his ordeal went viral months later. In freezing conditions and wearing only boxer shorts, Okene recited a psalm sent by his wife, known as the Prayer for Deliverance, expressing gratitude for divine intervention in sustaining his life.

He remembers saying: “Oh God, by your name, save me. … The Lord sustains my life.” Harrison Odjegba Okene considers his rescue from being underwater for over 60 hours at a depth of around 100 feet a manifestation of divine deliverance, a belief he continues to hold.

Was Anyone There With Him?

Tragically, the other 11 crew members aboard the Jascon 4 perished. Divers, initially on a recovery mission for bodies, were surprised when a hand appeared on the diver’s monitor. Assuming it was another corpse, everyone was startled when the hand unexpectedly grabbed the diver. This shocking turn of events occurred during the rescue operation led by the Dutch company DCN Diving, which called to the scene while working on a nearby oil field.

man survived Atlantic Ocean
© Osman Rana / Unsplash

The Video Footage

In the video footage of Okene’s rescue, the rescuer expresses fear and shock initially, followed by joy upon realizing that Okene is alive. The exclamation, “There’s a survivor! He’s alive!” is heard. According to Tony Walker, the project manager for DCN Diving, Okene’s luck was extraordinary as he was in an air pocket, but he emphasizes that Okene’s time in such conditions was limited, and he wouldn’t have been able to breathe much longer.

DCN Diving released the complete video of Okene’s rescue after a request from The Associated Press. Initially, a shorter version had surfaced on the Internet. The authenticity of the video was verified through conversations with DCN employees in the Netherlands. The footage of Okene was consistent with additional photos of him on the rescue ship. The Associated Press also contacted Okene directly on Tuesday, who confirmed the accuracy of the events depicted in the video.

Do you think you would have been able to survive underwater in the Atlantic Ocean?

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Orgesta Tolaj

Your favorite introvert who is buzzing around the Hive like a busy bee!