The incident took place in May 2013 / file photo
The incident took place in May 2013 / file photo

If a boat or ship sinks in the sea, it is impossible for a person to escape.

But it would be hard to believe knowing that a man was pulled out alive underwater after 60 hours of a tugboat (a large boat) sinking into the sea.

This incident took place in May 2013 in the coastal region of Nigeria.

A man named Harrison Okini, aged 29 at the time, was the sole survivor of the accident.

They were trapped 100 feet below sea level in ice-cold water and complete darkness for 60 hours.

Nico van Heerden, the diver who discovered the Harrison Ocean, said that discovering a person alive several days after a ship or boat had sunk was a very unexpected and harrowing experience.

According to the diver, before we discovered Parison, we found the bodies of 3 of his colleagues.

“Boats sink and people die, but we’ve never heard of someone being found alive after so many days,” Nico van Heerden said.

Photo / screenshot taken after Harrison Okini was rescued
Photo / screenshot taken after Harrison Okini was rescued

Harrison O’Keeney was traveling as a cook on board the tugboat Jackson 4, which was headed for an oil tanker.

In an interview, Hersin Okini said that ‘before we knew it, the boat started to sink, although we had been working in this sea for years and had never encountered any problems’.

While the boat was sinking, Harrison O’Keeney tried to get out, but most of the doors were closed to avoid pirates.

As a result, they were stuck in a toilet that was slowly draining while the boat had reached the bottom of the sea.

Fortunately, an air pocket (a low-pressure area of ​​air) formed inside the toilet made it possible for Harrison to breathe.

It was very dark and cold and in his own words ‘it was very, very, very cold underwater, I was finding it hard to stay alive and wondering how long I would be able to survive in this air pocket’.

He also tried to find a way out but without success, instead he had to return to the air pocket after stopping breathing.

Harrison Okeni was at risk of death from hunger, thirst and extreme cold, as well as the increased amount of carbon dioxide gas in the air pocket.

But after 60 hours of waiting, Harrison O’Keeney heard some sounds and he reached the place where the divers were.

Once there, they gently touched Nico van Heerden because they didn’t want to scare the diver, after which he was transferred to the decompression chamber on the surface where he remained for 3 days, for 2 and a half days at sea depth. Death should not occur due to sudden release and reaching the ground due to intense pressure.

A few years after these accidents, Harrison O’Keeney again took to the deep sea as a professional diver and in 2021 dived to a depth of 164 feet.

On this occasion he said that ‘I am enjoying diving, this is my life now, I believe that the sea is my world, I feel more at peace there’.