Harrison Okene
The Nigerian cook survived two days under sea in shipwreck air bubble.

A Nigerian man survived underwater for two-and-a-half days after his boat capsized at sea.

Harrison Okene, the ship's cook, was found by rescue divers nearly 72 hours after the Jascon 4 tugboat capsized in stormy weather on May 26, around 20 miles off the coast of Nigeria.

The 29-year-old, who became trapped 30m (98ft) deep underwater inside the submerged tugboat, managed to stay alive with the help of an underwater air bubble.

Of the 12 people on board, Okene is believed to be the sole survivor. Divers recovered 10 dead bodies while a remaining crew member has not been found.

"I was there in the water in total darkness just thinking it's the end. I kept thinking the water was going to fill up the room but it did not," he said.

"I was so hungry but mostly so, so thirsty. The salt water took the skin off my tongue.

"I could perceive the dead bodies of my crew were nearby. I could smell them. The fish came in and began eating the bodies. I could hear the sound."

After two South African divers eventually rescued him, he spent another 60 hours in a decompression chamber until his body pressure returned to normal.

"After a certain amount of time at pressure, nitrogen will dissolve into the tissues," diving expert Christine Cridge told the BBC.

"If he'd ascended directly from 30m to the sea surface... it's likely he'd have had a cardiac arrest, or at best, serious neurological issues."

Speaking in his home town of Warri, in Nigeria's oil-producing Niger Delta Okene, admitted that although his survival is a "miracle" he is still haunted by memories of the experience and is not sure he will return to the sea.

"When I am at home sometimes it feels like the bed I am sleeping in is sinking. I think I'm still in the sea again. I jump up and I scream," Okene said.

"I don't know what stopped the water from filling that room. I was calling on God. He did it. It was a miracle."