Here's a dramatic story with a happy ending to start up the week: this newly released video shows the rescue of a survivor trapped for three days in an air pocket inside a sunken ship. The moment of the encounter with a diver sent to bring dead bodies to the surface is incredible—and so is the rescue itself.
The name of the man is Harrison Okene, the chef of the Jascon 4 and the only survivor of her 12-men crew. The Jascon 4 was the oil company tug in this photo. It capsized off the coast of Nigeria last June, sinking to a depth of about 100 feet. He survived in a small air pocket, completely in the dark, for three days—avoiding dehydration by drinking Coca-Cola.
In Okene's words:
I was there in the water in total darkness just thinking it's the end. I kept thinking the water was going to fill up the room but it did not… I was so hungry but mostly so, so thirsty. The salt water took the skin off my tongue… as I was doing out of the toilet it was pitch black so we were trying to link our way to the water tidal (exit hatch)… Three guys were in front of me and suddenly water rushed in full force. I saw the first one, the second one, the third one just washed away. I knew these guys were dead.
I was very, very cold and it was black. I couldn't see anything, but I could perceive the dead bodies of my crew were nearby. I could smell them. The fish came in and began eating the bodies. I could hear the sound. It was horror.
In the video you can hear the diver talking to the surface control with a high-pitch voice. This is typical of divers who are breathing the helium-oxygen mix used in really deep dives. Around the 5:15 minute mark, the diver finds the hand of a man who they presume dead. Then you can hear them immediately freaking out when they discover it's moving and alive. Okene seems to be freaking out too, but the diver finally calms him down enough to organize the rescue.
The terrified chef was then taken to a hyperbaric chamber to avoid decompression sickness. Okene had so much nitrogen in his body that the doctors had to slowly reduce the pressure to avoid the creation of lethal gas bubbles in his body. After two days, however, he was finally released to the daylight, alive and happy.