x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Holding on for dear life

A man's survival against the odds reminds us that tragedies sometimes have inspiring outcomes.

The amazing survival of ship's cook Okene Harrison, who lived for nearly three days in an air bubble in a sunken tugboat 30 metres under the sea, is the stuff of motion pictures.

The fact that Mr Harrison, a Nigerian working on an oil rig in the Gulf of Guinea, nourished himself by drinking Coca-Cola even gives the story a Hollywood flavour.

While Mr Harrison is indebted to his rescuers - workers with the Abu Dhabi-based construction and installation company DCN Global - his is a story of the remarkable human capacity to survive against the odds.

It comes just a month after a soldier in Bangladesh found a garment worker named Reshma still alive 17 days after she was buried in rubble by the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Dhaka.

Both stories are tragic, given the deaths of a 1,000 people in Dhaka and 10 crew in the tugboat sinking.

But the survival of these two people reminds us that in the midst of great tragedies, there are often life-affirming stories of hope, heroism and human endurance. Often these cases do become films. Mr Harrison's story would make a fine one - perhaps with financial assistance from a certain producer of soft drinks.