Nigerian Survives Shipwreck in Air Bubble; Gives Credits to Bible, Prayer

A Nigerian, Harrison Okene, was the only survivor in a shipwreck that took the lives of 12 other people. He survived, living off the oxygen in an air bubble. Harrison, the ship's cook, was found three days after the incident by divers who came to get the dead bodies. The incident happened just off the coast of Delta State in southern Nigeria

Harrison gives credit to the Bible and prayer for giving him the strength to survive the wreck.

In his discussion with The Nation Online, he said "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,"

Okene, who was in the water for close to 60 hours, said that he also spent a substantial amount of time worrying about his lost colleagues and about what might happen to his wife.

"I said so this is how I am going to die? What would happen to my wife? So, she will become a widow. I don't even have a child yet. What about my mother and everybody I love? So I will never see them again!" he said.

He added that he was very scared and worried about sharks and barracudas entering into his space and looked for a weapon to defend himself in case they did.

He said wen he heard divers moving about, he started using the hammer to hit the wall to attract them. He said he did that for some minutes and stopped. After a while, the sound died.

When they did not come, Okene decided to jump in the water and find the divers.

"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."

The rescued cook eventually reunited with his wife who had not even known that his ship had been shipwrecked. According to The Nation Online, "She thought he was still at work, while those who wanted to communicate the 'sad' news were unable to reach her because she had misplaced her GSM handset hours before the accident."

"I will just attribute everything to the grace of God," Akpos Okene said, after her husband was rescued.

Here is a YouTube video of BBC interview with Jed Chamberlain of DCN Global diving company, based in Abu Dhabi. His company was responsible for saving Harrison. The interview is by BBC World News presenter, Lucy Hockings.

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