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This Man Spend 60 Hours Trapped At The Bottom Of The Ocean, What Happened Next Was Unbelievable

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“Harrison Oaken was working as a cook on a tugboat called Jackson 4. It had set off from the coast of Nigeria and was working in the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The job of a tugboat is to tow other sea craft across the ocean to their destination because they can’t maneuver over the waters on their own.

In Oaken’s case, his tugboat was one of three crafts set out to bring an oil rig back to land far out into the deep waves of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s not unusual to hit rocky waters or a bit of stormy weather; it’s part and parcel of working on a boat out at sea. Sometimes for many weeks, some days you will drift along with relative ease, and on others, you feel truly at the mercy of the elements. So in this particular storm hit in May 2013, Oaken and his crew had no idea just how much destruction it was going to wreak that day.

Oaken awoke in the early hours of the morning and headed to the bathroom to freshen up. It was when he was in the bathroom that it happened; something hit the tugboat, a large wave, a gust of wind, who knows, but it was the vessel’s final blow. He barely had time to think before the icy waters began sucking the tugboat into its depths. He couldn’t see anything, but he knew that the ship was in serious trouble. He tried to scramble out of the bathroom and towards his fellow crew members, but nothing could prepare him for what he would see next.

The force of the waves rocking the boat meant that he couldn’t get to the emergency exit hatch, but he could see some of his colleagues inching closer to it. As everyone attempted to clamber their way to the exit hatch, a huge swell of water burst into the ship and swept through it.

He could only watch in horror as three of his colleagues were sucked out into the black depths. It’s hard to imagine the force of the waves that were sucking this once powerful tugboat deep into the ocean. He had no time to grieve for what he had just seen as he was thrown about the ship as it continued to plummet. He turned away from the exit hatch and was immediately swept up by another violent wave. But instead of being pulled out to sea, he was thrust down another of the ship’s passageways.

In the darkness, he had no idea where he was being pulled or what he would find there. Then, with a deafening crash, the staggering descent of the ship stopped as suddenly as it had started. He slowly realized that he had been swept by the surging water into another toilet near one of the other cabins. Water continued to surge and pummel the tugboat on the outside, but the inside seemed to have stopped moving. He had no idea what was happening, but he realized one thing with astonishment; he was still breathing.

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He couldn’t understand it. Was he really at the bottom of the ocean? What had happened? Where were his colleagues? Were they all right? Had anyone survived, or were some of them trapped like him? The tugboat had overturned completely and was now sitting upside down at the bottom of the seabed. Incredibly, he seemed to be in some sort of small air pocket, preserving a precious space where he could still breathe. He realized that he was alive and he could still breathe in this small air pocket, but he wasn’t sure what to do next.

He tried calling out for his colleagues, peering into the darkness for any sign of them, but there was nothing. Stuck in the tiny toilet with water slowly but steadily trickling in, he looked around for things to climb onto to keep his head out of the water. He found an overturned washbasin and clung to that to propel himself a little higher, but this wouldn’t last. He needed to find something else to climb on and fast. As terrifying as it was, he had to leave his tiny toilet and see if there was anything else nearby that he could use to build height.

He finally built up the courage to open the door and managed to swim into the adjacent cabin. From there, he was able to pull off parts of the wall paneling. He piled up the paneling to create a sort of makeshift raft and managed to lift himself further out of the icy water. There was nothing else to do now but wait and pray for a miracle.

There was another reason that he needed to stay still after building this raft, not just out of fear of dislodging another great swell of ocean water, but to preserve the oxygen in his own body. Any form of exertion causes you to breathe more heavily, and he was aware of the limited oxygen in his tiny air pocket.

He stayed as still as possible and tried to regulate his breathing, but even this wouldn’t be helpful for much longer. The truth is that even if he had remained completely still and meticulously rationed his breathing, oxygen would eventually become too scarce. At these sorts of depths in the ocean, the oxygen levels are incredibly low and are quickly overtaken by the nitrogen levels. Oaken did everything he could to cling to life, lost and alone in the darkness, freezing cold, and with the water levels slowly rising. He had no food, no water, but he did manage to find a small bottle of Coke. But he had more to worry about than a lack of food or water.

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Already incredibly uncomfortable from the freezing salty water and struggling without anything to eat or drink, something else started to affect him. After being in the harsh saltwater for a long time, his skin began to peel off in painful flakes. Even though things seemed utterly hopeless, the devout Christian clung to his hope in God, praying again and again that he be saved. It was clear that for Oaken to survive, he would truly need some kind of miracle. Fortunately, this was something that he believed was completely possible, even in the darkest of times.

As well as his faith in God, Oaken kept himself sane with thoughts of his life and family back home. Thinking of them gave him renewed strength to keep fighting and believe that a miraculous rescue could be just around the corner. Sixty hours had now passed since the tugboat had crashed into the seabed, and he was still clinging to life way down there at the bottom of the ocean. Suddenly, he thought he heard a faint hammering on the deck. Was this all in his mind, or was salvation truly at hand?

Oaken’s desperate hope was true in a manner of speaking. There was indeed a search team of divers circling the wreck of the tugboat, but they were not there to look for survivors. It was so impossible for anyone to possibly survive down in these depths that the search team had merely been sent to recover the bodies. Dutch company DCN Diving had already found four bodies and was certainly not looking for survivors. The team went deeper into the murky boat, using their headlamps to shine light into the dark water as the divers swept through the corridors.

Hogan could see the light from one of their head torches passing him. He was desperate to attract their attention, but he was so exhausted he could barely lift his arms. Miraculously, for some unknown reason, the diver returned to the same spot. Oaken was more terrified now than ever before. He knew he had to muster all his strength and not let this moment go by. Weak from days without food or water, Oaken had to use the last of his remaining energy to swim towards the diver. He still could not get his attention, so he reached out and tapped him on the back of the neck.

The video footage from the search team’s cameras shows the incredible events that happened next. Once the diver spotted Oken’s hand reaching out, he turned to his microphone, reporting to the rescue ship above. “Corpse, corpse, corpse,” he called. But then he realized how very wrong he was as the diver approached to touch the dead hand; it touched him back. You can hear the amazed reaction of the rescue team in the live video footage. “He’s alive, he’s alive,” they exclaimed in shock.

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When the search team realized they had discovered a survivor, they were overjoyed at this unprecedented miracle. It was an astonishing result for everyone, not just because they completely hadn’t expected it, but because it truly was impossible that someone could survive in those conditions.

Even though he had now been discovered, there was still a way to go before he could be safe. The rescue team was worried that the excitement of being rescued would cause him to panic and hyperventilate. They weren’t just concerned about his feelings, but because he had been in such a nitrogen-high environment, it was likely that he had absorbed potentially lethal amounts. Raising your heart rate while in this state is incredibly dangerous and can be fatal.

So, for the rescue team, keeping Oaken calm was literally a matter of life or death. Fortunately, the rescue team, both under the water and above in the search panel, were incredible at keeping Oaken calm and positive and talking him through the rescue process.

The diver’s video footage is incredibly emotional, showing the team leader talking calmly and kindly to Oaken, putting him at ease. Although he had been rescued, it wasn’t as straightforward as simply taking him back up to the surface. Having spent so much time in the pressurized container, his heart had slowly filled with gas, meaning that it was no longer able to cope with the air conditions above the water.

The return of Oaken to the surface in the outside world had to be done in several separate, careful stages. First, the rescue team strapped him into diving equipment, including a mask to help him breathe underwater. Then they led him through the water into a diving bell. The diving bell returned him to the surface, but he had to go immediately into a decompression chamber. Oaken spent two days in the chamber where his heart eventually returned to normal levels.

Soon enough, the miraculous survival and rescue story of Harrison Oaken spread around the world. Readers and experts all over the world were amazed and moved by the miracle, which had never happened before. Some hypothesized that it was the chemical makeup of the water that he was partially submerged in.

The water could have helped absorb the otherwise potentially dangerous levels of nitrogen and carbon dioxide that arise in a concealed space over a long period of time. Oaken has spoken openly about the strength he found in his religious faith while trapped in the depths of the ocean. In dire straits with no sign of rescue, no sustenance, and danger and horrors all around him, it is amazing that he kept his belief throughout it all.

Though Oaken swore never again to go near the ocean, he became a certified commercial diver in 2015. He got his diploma from the rescue diver who found him at the bottom of the ocean.

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Birminghamgist Staff is a News Reporter, making waves in the UK with insightful and Engaging reporting.

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