RAW FOOTAGE: Man Rescued After Three Days Trapped In A Sunken Ship At The Bottom Of Sea

TODAY: As a South African rescue diver probed the wreckage of an overturned tugboat in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Nigeria this summer, it was assumed that all he’d be doing would be recovering the bodies of those who perished. However, as he was swimming through the murky water inside the capsized boat on May 28, a hand suddenly reached toward him out of the gloom. It was the ship’s cook, Harrison Okene, who had somehow survived for approximately 60 hours in only his underwear in the freezing cold water by breathing from a small air pocket and taking sips of Coca-Cola. Video of Okene’s dramatic rescue in May shows the moment his hand penetrated the darkness to alert the diver that he was still alive. Then it a shirtless Okene is shown from the waist up. “He’s alive! He’s alive!” the diver exclaims to a colleague on the surface who is guiding him. “Just reassure him,” the diver’s colleague says. “Just reassure him. Pat him on the shoulder.” MORE

SLATE: Being buried alive is usually near the top of any worst-ways-to-die list. But how about being buried alive 100 feet below the ocean surface in a tiny pocket of air? For Harrison Okene, a 29-year-old Nigerian boat cook, this nightmare scenario became a reality for nearly three grueling days. The story began on May 26 at about 4:30 a.m., when Okene got up to use the restroom. His vessel, a Chevron oil service tugboat called the AHT Jascon-4, swayed in the choppy Atlantic waters just off the coast of Nigeria. What caused the tugboat to capsize remains a mystery, though a Chevron official later blamed a “sudden ocean swell.”

Okene was thrown from the crew restroom as the ship turned over. Water streamed in and swept him through the vessel’s bowels until he found himself in the toilet of an officer’s cabin. As the ship settled on the ocean floor, the water stopped rising. For the next 60 hours, Okene—who was without food, water, or light—listened to the sounds of ocean creatures scavenging through the ship on his dead crewmates. Like a living Phlebas the Phoenician, he recounted his life’s events while growing more resigned to his fate. Unbelievably, Okene survived his underwater ordeal long enough to be rescued. Basic physics, it turned out, was on Okene’s side the whole time—even if Poseidon wasn’t. […] Okene likely holds the new record for most time spent trapped underwater. After his rescue, he had to spend another 60 hours in a decompression chamber to rid his body of excess nitrogen, and some of his skin peeled off from soaking in salt water for so long. MORE