Shipwrecked man survives underwater for three days praying psalms

Lagos, Nigeria, Dec 5, 2013 / 01:02 pm (CNA).- After a shipwreck off the coast of Nigeria, a 29-year-old man survived three days at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean while constantly reciting a psalm his wife mentioned to him during their last conversation.

Harrison Okene was a Nigerian cook on the tugboat Jascon 4, which was one of three vessels pulling an oil tanker. It capsized and sank about 32 kilometers off the coast of Nigeria in late May with its 12 crewmembers aboard.

Although the shipwreck occurred in May, a video of the dramatic rescued surfaced this week and was published by the Associated Press on YouTube.

The video shows Okene being found alive by divers who were inspecting the shipwreck.

Okene was in the bathroom when the boat sank 100 feet to the ocean floor. He was trapped in an air pocket, where he remained for three days reciting a passage from Psalm 54: “Oh God, by your name save me…The Lord sustains my life.”

The video captures the moment in which a diver saw the cook's hand and thought it belonged to a dead body. When the hand grasped at him, he shouted, “He's alive, he's alive,” to his fellow rescue workers, who were watching on monitors on the surface.

Okene said he thought only a miracle would lead to his rescue and during the long wait, he began “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.”

In an interview with Nigerian newspaper The Nation, Okene recalled that he began to invoke the name of God and that he was in a daze because the surroundings went completely dark.

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