Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 30 March 2014





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Do or die battle for a piece of hippo meat

It was a battle between two of the most fearsome beasts for the meat of a dead hippo.The lion single-handedly went into a do or die battle with a group of hungry crocodiles who were also interested in feasting on the remains of the dead hippo. The sensational pictures were captured by American IT manager Richard Chew at the Masai Mara nature reserve in Kenya The lion braved the waters of a crocodile-infested river in a bid to get his teeth into the hippo, which had died overnight due to natural causes.

But when several crocodiles emerged to defend their turf, the lion roared into action and began to claw at the angry reptiles.

As neither of the rivals showed any sign of backing down, the lengthy stand-off was captured on camera by the tourist. Mr Chew, from San Fransisco, a semi-professional photographer said the shots were among the best he had taken.

He said: “It was amazing to see the food chain in action. The lion was showing his rival no fear.”

Saved after three days undersea

We may call it a shocking tale of survival-at-sea where a man lived for almost three days trapped inside a sunken ship at the bottom of the ocean.

Harrison Okene, 29, was trapped in an air pocket in a dark chamber, with no food and only a can of cola for 60 hours or so.

Okene had almost three days in a small air pocket inside an overturned tugboat at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean before being rescued by divers.

A tugboat with a crew of 12 was moving through choppy waters off the coast of Nigeria. The boat was towing an oil tanker when a sudden rogue wave slammed into the vessel, snapping the tow rope and capsizing the vessel.

Okene, the ship's cook, was in the bathroom when the boat turned over and began to sink. Most of the other crew members were locked in their cabins as that sealed the other crew members’ doom.

In the pre-dawn darkness, Okene was tossed from the bathroom wearing only his boxer shorts. “I was dazed, and everywhere was dark as I was thrown from one end of the small cubicle to another,” he said. Okene was luckier than his crew mates, however. Locked inside their cabins asleep, none survived the ship's sinking.

Okene eventually scrambled into the engineers’ office, where he found a small pocket of air. By this time, the boat had come to rest upside down on the sea floor at a depth of about 100 feet (30 metres). Almost naked, with no food or fresh water, in a cold, wet room with a dwindling supply of oxygen. Okene’s odds of survival seemed to be near- zero.

In addition to his small pocket of air, Okene also discovered a bottle of cola and a life vest with two small flash lights attached. But as Okene listened to the sounds of sharks or other fish devouring the bodies of his crew mates, he began to lose hope.

In the dark, he had almost given up hope after three days of praying to God for a miracle when he suddenly heard the sound of a boat, a hammering on the side of the vessel and then, after a while, saw lights and the rising waters around him bubbling.

He said he knew it had to be a diver, but he was on the wrong end of the cabin. Air bubbles rose around the cook as he squatted inside his air pocket. Rescue seemed imminent, but then the lights disappeared.

Desperate, Okene swam through pitch-dark waters in the sunken boat to grab the diver.

Okene couldn’t find him and, with the air in his lungs giving out, he swam back to the cabin that held his precious, but dwindling, pocket of air.

‘He came in but he was too fast, so I saw the light but before I could get to him, he was already out. I tried to follow him in the pitch darkness but I couldn’t trace him, so I went back,’ he said.

His rescuers from the Dutch company DCN Diving were looking only for bodies and already had recovered four corpses when they came upon Okene.When the diver returned, Okene had to swim again to reach him and still he did not see him, so he tapped the diver on the back of his neck, giving the man a scare.

When the diver saw his hand he said ‘corpse, corpse, a corpse,’ into his microphone, reporting up to the rescue vessel.

‘When he brought his hand close to me, I pulled on his hand,’ Okene said.

‘He’s alive! He’s alive! He’s alive!’ Okene remembers hearing.

Okene described a surreal scene after the diver emerged into the air pocket.

‘I knew when he gave me water he was observing me [to see] if I’m really human, because he was afraid,’ he said.The diver first used hot water to warm him up, then attached him to an oxygen mask. Once saved from sunken boat, he was put into a decompression chamber for 60 hours before he could safely return to the surface..

Okene said that he had spent the first two days of his ordeal incessantly praying to God, but on the third day he stopped, accepting that death was inevitable. 

He didn’t go to the funerals of his colleagues because he feared their families’ reactions - Nigerians being generally very religious but also superstitious.

‘I couldn’t go because I didn’t know what the family will say, thinking “Why is he the only one to survive,”’ said Okene.

It’s a question that has shaken his steadfast faith. ‘Every week I ask [God] “Why only me? Why did my colleagues have to die?” His wife Akpovona Okene, 27, said he still suffers nightmares seven months later.

‘When he is sleeping, he has that shock, he will just wake up in the night saying “Honey see, the bed is sinking, we are in the sea,” MrsOkene said. Okene said he made a pact with God when he was at the bottom of the ocean: ‘When I was under the water I told God: If you rescue me, I will never go back to the sea again, never.’ Paul McDonald, a member of the rescue crew, said at the time: ‘All on board could not believe how cool he was when being rescued.

‘The divers put a diving helmet and harness onto him. It was amazing to be part of this rescue.’


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