In May, a Chevron tugboat capsized off the coast of Nairobi in rough waters killing what officials originally thought was the entire 12-man crew. But when divers nearly three days later were inspecting the sunken vessel, they found one man alive and rescued him.
Footage from the the moment when cook Harrison Okene was found alive, surviving on the oxygen trapped in the ship’s air bubble and Coca-Cola according to CNN, is just now being released.
Okene became trapped when he took an early morning trip to the restroom, wearing just his boxers. Okene told the Nigerian newspaper The Nation that after the ship — the Jascon 4 – had floundered, he heard rescue teams and tried to get their attention by banging. When they didn’t come, he sought them out.
“My hands and feet were very white,” Okene told The Nation. “When I located him, I was the one who touched the diver, I touched his head and he was shocked. He was searching and I just saw the light, so I jumped into the water. As he was shocked, he stretched out his hands. I touched him.”
Images of Okene’s hand reaching down can be seen in the newly released footage, as well as when divers reach him, give him his first sip of water in nearly three days and bring him to the surface:
The whole ordeal from when the boat capsized to being rescued lasted about 60 hours.
While trapped with a growing sense that he would die on the ship, Okene told The Nation he would pray and think of his wife.
“I prayed about a hundred times. When I was tired, I started calling on the name of God. I was just calling on His name for divine intervention. I started reminiscing on the verses I read before I slept. I read the Bible from Psalm 54 to 92. My wife had sent me the verses to read that night when she called me before I went to bed,” the rescued man told the newspaper.
“I will just attribute everything to the grace of God,” the man’s wife, Akpos Okene, said.
Watch BBC’s report about the rescue operation shortly after it occurred:
Chevron’s General Manager for Policy, Government and Public Affairs Deji Haastrup told The Nation at the time an initial report attributed the accident to “sudden ocean swell” that the ship couldn’t withstand.