Saved By the Toilet

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, 2013 at about 4:30 a.m., when Okene got up to use the bathroom. His vessel, a Chevron oil service tugboat, 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 bathroom 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 and recounted his life events while growing more resigned to his fate. Unbelievably, Okene survived his underwater ordeal long enough to be rescued.