Skip to comments.Trapped in an Underwater Air Bubble for Three Days (June '13)
Posted on 12/04/2013 4:59:49 AM PST by Hoodat
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 at about 4:30 a.m., when Okene got up to use the restroom. His vessel, a Chevron oil service tugboat called the AHT Jascon-4, 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 restroom as the ship turned over. Water streamed in and swept him through the vessels bowels until he found himself in the toilet of an officers cabin. As the ship settled on the ocean floor, the water stopped rising. For the next 60 hours, Okenewho was without food, water, or lightlistened to the sounds of ocean creatures scavenging through the ship on his dead crewmates. Like a living Phlebas the Phoenician, he recounted his lifes events while growing more resigned to his fate.
Unbelievably, Okene survived his underwater ordeal long enough to be rescued. Basic physics, it turned out, was on Okenes side the whole timeeven if Poseidon wasnt.
When Maxim Umansky, a physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, read about Okenes miraculous rescue, his interest was piqued. For a physics question, its an interesting problem, said Umansky. . .
(Excerpt) Read more at slate.com ...
Trapped alone in that confined space and in the dark for 3 days, I would have gone crazy
Mary Jo Kopechne?
She needed a bigger bubble! Or, a gentleman to save her.
...or just a MAN.
The physics of putting a heavy crane on a ship and pulling up ships fascinates me.
How do they keep from capsizing?
Couldn’t this guy have swum underwater after begin trapped in the water to the outside of the boat and then rose 100 feet? That sounds like a lot of depth but it can be down within 30 seconds.
My close friend, JB, told me a story years ago, when he was a commercial diver on the Gulf Coast. There was a Jack Up drilling rig being moved when a storm came up and sunk the rig. After the storm, He was tasked to search for the bodies of the unaccounted for crewmen. He said it was zero visability and he was searching by feel. He about came out of his skin, when a survivor grabbed his leg. He was able to rescue several crewmen, who were surviving in an air pocket.
Smithsonian used to have a show called Great Ships or Mega Ships or something. One of the ones they featured was the world’s heaviest lift cargo ship. They had outriggers that they deployed from the opposite side to counteract the weight. Using two onboard cranes they would inch the giant loads on board adjusting the outriggers and ballast tanks on the ship with every move.
“Couldnt this guy have swum underwater after begin trapped in the water to the outside of the boat and then rose 100 feet? That sounds like a lot of depth but it can be down within 30 seconds.”
The hard part would be negotiating a water-filled boat upside down in the dark before you ran out of air.
You’re assuming he knows how to swim...
I’d want to use two. One on each side of the lift.
The mere thought of it makes my mind put up a blockade.
Yeah, just saw it yesterday. Seriously amazing.
The compressed air would have expanded in his lungs as he was surfacing. We would then explode like a balloon. Not a good way to go. Mr. Okene deserves a lot of credit for focusing on God and prayer as opposed to ill-advised schemes.
At 100 ft, the pressure would have been approximately 4 times atmospheric pressure. Surfacing that quickly would have caused air to literally boil out of his blood.
A sober one.....
The bends would have killed him in a quick ascent. After rescue, he spent 60 hours in a decompression chamber. At 100 ft., he’s at 43 psig compared to 0 psig at the surface. A lot of nitrogen is dissolved into his blood at that pressure.
There's no rescue with Obamacare.
Amazing I would say it is a miracle.
All submariners are trained in escape from depths of over 100 feet from an escape chamber. The air is compressed in the lungs at the depth, and there is plenty of air/O2 to come up. What MUST happen is that one must exhale all the way to the surface, and not hold one’s breathe. Holding breath means expansion of lungs (and gases in the blood), which will kill an individual by bubbling in the blood, or explosion of the lungs. Many is (or were) the WWII and other submariners who could tell you some horror stories about this.
The Momsen lung was designed to assist escape from a submarine at depth and provide support to breathe out as needed— and saved a lot of sailors. Invented by “Swede” Momsen.
I came up with 299 kPa gauge. I can assure you that my calculation was easier. I loathe having to do any calculations in ft-lbs, psi, or BTUs.
There are tanks that are flooded with water to give it weight opposite the lift or water is pumped out to give it bouncy on the side with the lift.
The pumps are big enough that they will flood or drain the tanks even with the load being swung from one side of the ship or barge around to the other side.
When the lights go out on a ship you can slap yourself and not know who hit you.
Trying to find your way around in that kind of darkness even when upright on the surface is tough.
27.7 inches of water ~ 1 psig. Easy to do. Learned it in ME and the boiler business (dealing with flue draft) many, many years ago. It’s one of those things that just sticks with you.
Even if memory fails me, there’s always http://www.onlineconversion.com/pressure.htm to assist.
As one of his friends understatedly wrote on Okenes Facebook wall, I feel sorry for u that happened man. Dozens of other friends and family members thank God and Jesus for looking out for Okene, though perhaps a hat tip to physics is in order, too.
I watched the video yesterday - a very lucky man. The South African rescue divers were superb, first rate.
And just who do you think invented the law of physics and all the other laws of our universe?
Yeah, I think God knew what he was doing when it came to physics.
I thought one atmosphere was 14.7 psi or 1013 millibars.