This past June, the story of Harrison Okene's rescue made international headlines. Okene served as a cook on a Chevron tugboat that had capsized on May 26 off the coast of Nigeria. Miraculously, he survived with no food or water for almost three days in a small air pocket before a rescue team found him and brought him back to land.
The story sounds like a Hollywood script. The newly released video from the South African dive team that found Okene is the type of footage you would expect to see only on the silver screen.
A group of six divers, along with a deck crew and technical staff, worked on the mission. Originally the team from DCN Global believed they would be recovering only dead bodies. Of the 12 crew members, Okene was the sole person found alive; 10 bodies were recovered and 1 is still missing.
As soon as the diver discovered Okene, he was fitted with an oxygen mask and could talk with another crew member who had been directing the rescuer.
"What is your rank?" the crew member asked. When the survivor responded that he was the cook, the man replied, "You're the cook? They always survive."
But Okene was far from in the clear at that point. The dive team needed to devise a plan to get the 29-year-old in a controlled environment so that his body pressure could return to normal. After spending 60 hours underwater, Okene spent another 60 in a decompression chamber before reuniting with his family.
- Society & Culture