This story affected me a great deal when I first heard it. Two of my uncles have worked on the dangerous seas, in various roles from deckhand, captain, engineer, logistics and consulting. I am grateful that their lives were preserved during their career days.
The survival story of Harrison Odjegba Okene has taken some time to be noticed. His miraculous rescue took place in May of 2013, but when the video taken by a camera attached to the head of the rescue diver was released publicly this month it became unstoppable.
The Nigerian cook and eleven others were on board a tugboat, the Jascon 4, off the coast of Nigeria. A wave caused the boat to capsize while Harrison was in the bathroom. He opened a series of doors until he found a cabin where there was an air pocket. He was submerged from the waist down in frigid salt water and remained this way for 60 hours with only coca-cola to drink and nothing to eat.
We have a series of miracles here:
- he did not succumb to hypothermia
- he remained conscious
- there was enough oxygen for him to continue breathing
- no predatory fish broke through the walls of the cabin
- a diver from DCN (a Dutch salvage company) was able to locate him in time.
Harrison himself acknowledges that it was God who sustained him during this Jonah-like experience: “The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me…But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God” (Jonah 2: 5-6). He reportedly recited psalms during his ordeal, crying out to God for deliverance with the words of Psalm 54.
All of Harrison’s crew-mates lost their lives, and he mourns for them. Nevertheless, he has a testimony to give and a life of gratitude to live while he has breath.
If you would like to read the detailed news report, click on the underlined words.