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How To Actually Survive Being Stuck In Quicksand

How To Actually Survive Being Stuck In Quicksand


If you’re a child of the 1980’s or earlier,
or just an avid movie watcher then there’s a great possibility that you have a some-what
irrational fear of sinking it a pit of quicksand. For years quicksand has been a common catastrophe
for characters in film and television such as The Princess Bride, Indiana Jones and the
Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and I Love Lucy. While this gag may provide any city dweller
with some exoctic tension, is quicksand actually a crisis we should prepare for? Today on The Infographics Show we’ll uncover
the dangers of quicksand and the best ways to escape if you ever find yourself in that
slippery situation. Unfortunately for some adventure lovers very
few of these movies and TV examples can actually stand up against scientific scrutiny. It is common to see a scene with a character
panicked, thrashing, screaming and sinking often times drowning, completely submerged
by the muddy ground, like in the case of Sheriff Denver Kid in the 1978 Western “Hot Lead
and Cold Feet”, where only his hat remained on the surface. If there are so many on-screen portrayals
of death or near death experiences by quicksand, why are there so few actual cases of people
meeting their demise this way? Mostly because Hollywood has it wrong, let’s
break down why this commonality in movies has duped the public perception of quicksand
and what the real-life dangers of quicksand actually are. Quicksand is often found on riverbanks, near
lakes, marshes or near coastal areas. It happens when two phases of matter, liquid
and solid, meet. It can be a mixture of sand and water, silt
and water, clay and water, sediment and water, or even sand and air. It is caused by the sand having more space
between particles than in dry sand. This is why if you try to build a sand castle
when your sand is too wet, you end up with a muddy lump, rather than a standing structure. One of the leading scientists on understanding
quicksand, Daniel Bonn of the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands explains that
quicksand is a non-Newtonian fluid, which means any amount of stress causes its viscosity
to quickly drop, or in other words it’s resistance to flow is lowered. While it may look solid, once the weight like
a human or animal disturbs it, this allows for more liquid to flow in, diminishing friction,
and then loses it’s ability to act as a solid, which is why you sink. When limbs are moved underneath the surface,
the movement creates a vacuum pressure which sinks you deeper, and requires a lot more
effort to move through. This vacuum effect is something you may have
experienced when stepping into certain consistencies of mud that pulls your shoe off. While you might be scared if you find yourself
suddenly sinking into the earth – don’t panic too hard. Continued movement, like flailing or “swimming”
keeps the mixture more like a liquid, causing you to sink. When you stop flailing, and start saying your
final goodbyes, crying, or screaming you may realize you’ve actually stopped sinking. This is all due to basic physics, the average
human has a density of about 1 gram per milliliter, while the average density of quicksand is
about 2 grams per milliliter, so you’d only sink half way even if you did everything wrong. This is because your legs are quite dense,
but the lungs in your torso are buoyant enough to keep you out of serious trouble. This means that the Hollywood depiction of
people getting sucked into quicksand and “drowning” is actually impossible, at no point would
the quicksand reach above your head. What a relief! But not really… If you find yourself stuck it is no easy feat
to free yourself from the insane pressure underneath the surface. There have been cases of quicksand deaths
but it’s never as fast as the movies portray. Usually deaths occur from exhaustion, sun
exposure, or if you’re in the unfortunate situation of being stuck near the ocean where
the high tide will likely kill you, and then sweep you away. Let’s not forget to mention the threat of
wildlife, especially if you’re out in the open desert or rainforest. A slow and agonizing death is far more likely,
and terrifying. On July 7th, 2015 Jose Rey Escobedo went missing
at about 10am in San Antonio, Texas. Police received a call reporting a light blue
car had been parked underneath the San Antonio River Bridge in Goliad County for several
days. After his glasses and wallet were identified,
and camping or running away were largely ruled out, police started a widespread search of
the river, where Escobedo would often swim alone. A few days later Game Wardens Kevin Fagg and
William Zappe continued to search the San Antonio river by boat after a helicopter was
unsuccessful in locating him from above. What they found was Escobedo’s body lodged
in quicksand, face down, just 350 yards upstream from the bridge where he parked his car. While his true cause of death was never released
to public reports, the river was higher that day due to increased rain and it is likely
that he was drowned after being trapped in quicksand. Another interesting factor of Bonn’s study
was how intense the pressure is underneath the surface. He concluded that to pull a foot out of quicksand
at a rate of one centimeter per second would require the same force needed to lift a medium-sized
car. So unless you’re a superhero or have a party
of friends who aren’t stuck, it’s likely impossible you’d be able to free yourself
by pulling yourself out. Those who get stuck for hours, or even a whole
day will likely suffer permanent nerve damage, chest pain or potentially an entire limb due
to the high amounts of pressure to the body’s lower half. So what do you do if you find yourself knees,
waist or chest deep in this unforgiving substance? The first thing any expert will tell you is
don’t panic. Call for help if possible, but it’s not
a strong strategy to have a friend reach over and try to pull you out, as you have a higher
risk of pulling them in with you then of them actually being able to pull you out. Fast, panicked, and frantic movement will
only expedite the sinking. The next move you should make is to remove
any heavy objects off your person, like backpacks and your shoes if you’re able to. Shoes can be particularly problematic because
shoes with flexible soles can act as suction cups, and the suctioning effect can make freeing
yourself even more difficult. Once you’ve found your legs are stuck, it’s
important to move them slowly and deliberately as exhaustion is a major threat, because the
getting out process could take hours if you’re in deep enough. Next, wiggle your legs to allow water and
space to flow through and loosen the cement-like sand. While it is not always possible, attempt to
move backwards toward the more solid dirt, not forward to risk your head getting stuck. Then it’s time to redistribute your weight,
which is the key of the whole operation. If you’re ankle or knee deep, slowly sit
down, or if you’re waist deep, lean on your back. While it might sound that this tactic would
sink you further, a pit of quicksand is like a swimming pool, if you’re standing, you’ll
sink but if you attempt to lie on your back and spread out, you’ll float to the surface. Continue to wiggle and calmly work at getting
one leg unstuck at a time. Eventually, once one leg is free you have
to just continue working to free your other one by wiggling and crawling back to the hard
land. You’ll probably be exhausted and sunburned,
but you will have survived a daunting task, which many a movie and cartoon character are
unable to say. So there it is, and while dangerous because
of other contributing factors, like terrain, heat or wildlife, quicksand can’t actually
kill you like most of us thought it could growing up watching old cartoons and westerns. You won’t sink above you head, or get sucked
into the earth. Although you will get really stuck, and it
could take hours to free yourself, and if you’re by the ocean this could be deadly
when high tide hits, so work deliberately. Why do you think movies used to portray quicksand
this way? And why isn’t it nearly as popular in ones
today? And most importantly? Did this clear up any of your own irrational
fears about quicksand? Or did it just your fears stronger? Let us know in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video
How To Actually Survive Getting Shot! Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t
forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!

100 thoughts on “How To Actually Survive Being Stuck In Quicksand”

  1. Posting before watching the video, but reminded me of a time in my past. Not exactly quick sand, but closer to it than I ever expected to get. As a child playing at the beach, I ended up getting trapped in sand. Wouldn't have been a huge issue, but it happened to be just before the tide started coming in. And I didn't know what to do and quickly sank down to almost my hips. I tried to dig out but the water erased all this effort.
    I had been exploring the beach of the small island me and my family was camping on, so there wasn't anyone that could see or hear me. After freaking for a bit my father finally came around to thr side of the island I was one. At first he just thought I was waving while I played in the surf but after a minute or to he got close enough to realize I was in trouble.

    Anyway, he got to me and helped pull me free, but by then the water had risen to my chest and I was very worried until finally getting free. If he hadn't come the hugh tide level wasn't much above my head, but high enough that I likely would have had issues breathing, to say the least.

    Edit – Oh btw, at that age I would often 'play' with the slight amount of sinking into the sand that sometimes happened at the beach. After this experience I still played in the surf, but I was much more aware of getting stuck, among other tips I learned growing up around Florida.
    Like almost being carried far out by a rip tide on another occasion…
    Neither stopped me from enjoying the water, but I had safety reinforced by my family after bot events.

  2. FTC is targeting youtubers for money since YouTube broke the law , SPREAD THE WORD TO ANYONE YOU KNOW, They could be affected in the changes

  3. Hey Infographics
    Is there a way to save a University being sieged by paramilitary force which is happening right now in a city somewhere?

  4. "Next, take your shoes off"…."Then, start to lay on your back"… htf do you do all that if it's as hard to pull your legs up 1 cm an hour as lifting a car in the air!

  5. We have HUMUS QUICKSAND here at a golf course in DANBURY CT. Word has it a bulldoser was lost during the construction of the course… They tried to remove it, but determined that leaving under the QUICKSAND was cheaper…

  6. I’m going to Hawaii my parents said we have to fly but I don’t want to go because we have to fly I’m afraid the plane will crash I don’t know if I should go what should I do

  7. Believe it or not, this has happened to me before. But the thing was, the stream the quicksand was by, was right next to a neighborhood, and the quicksand wasnt moving as quickly, so someone on their porch walked towards me, and saw that i was stuck, and brought a family member, and they pulled me out

  8. A lot of people may not realize it, but I love how the animation quality of these videos is improving. Keep it up InfoG's.

  9. I’ve been stuck while wading in a lake, I was only in about stomach deep. I felt my feet sinking but didn’t think much of it, in my waders I got most of my ankles in the clay. When I decided to move spots it was almost impossible to free my leg , my other leg started to sink, I lost my balance and almost tipped into the water causing me to panic and the more I tried to pull my legs out the deeper I went. I got about chest deep in the water and my knees deep in clay and stopped, water was filling my waders I started to panic more. I always carry a knife since it’s not uncommon to get tangled in broken fishing line while wading, I started to cut the waders more water got in until I was able to remove and cut a lot of it off, I was able to yell out to another fisherman and he called for help, firefighters showed up I was down a steep 30-40 yard long bank. 4 hours later there were firefighters, police officers and the fishermen, with a rope around my waist, chest and shoulders it was basically a tug of war trying to pull me out. Had severely bruised ribs and I was checked over by the paramedics but that was it. Took me an entire year to feel comfortable enough to get into any body of water after that.

  10. I wish I would have known about this when I was a kid, because I got stuck in the mud that was fairly deep and I was yanked out and have permanent back problems from it.

  11. I’m pretty sure I can struggle my way out. First, I’ll just reach in and pull my legs out. Now I’ll pull my arms out with my face. Classic Homer Simpson.

  12. Does this apply to a sinkhole? A family friend died pulling her son, who was severely autistic our or a sinkhole but got stuck and died. I’ve spent years wondering if there was a way she could have survived

  13. Me living in San Antonio Texas later in the video guy dies by quicksand in San Antonio Texas while watching this video

    Me:😅 looks like I ain’t going to a river

  14. Quicksand isn’t that scary tbh, most of the time you get stuck to your knees, we used to play a game where we jumped into it and raced to get out the quickest. If your wondering I’m talking about mostly silt and sediment quicks sand in inter coastal Florida

  15. I was nearly killed by quicksand once, but not in the way you may think. I was riding a dirt bike on a lake shore when I hit a patch of quicksand, I don't remember anything that happened after but apparently I was violently thrown off my dirt bike, rolled across the sand and ended up in the water, luckily I had a friend with me who kept me from drowning as I was unconscious. I got a serious concussion, dislocated a shoulder and broke my collarbone.

  16. Theres a video of an older man doing a escaping quicksand video, to summarize it he sunk and died in it. Very hollywood style.

  17. I was once playing hide and seek at a park and I stepped in quick sand and I was hella scared, at that time I was 9 😂😂 my shoe was destroyed by it 🙃

    But luckily my cousins cousin helped me 😅

  18. Kinda made my fears stronger- because I thought it was all Hollywood drama and you could easily get out. Now I’m scared lol.

  19. Video: “There’s a possibility you have an irrational fear of sinking in quicksand”

    Me: “Or a fetish for it…”

  20. When I went to school in the 80's, one of our teachers did an hour-long discussion and video about the dangers of quicksand or quickmud. During the descussion she described how you would drown by sand filling your lungs when you opened your mouth to breath. That image has haunted me all my life and now I discover there're still reasons to fear quicksand, merely a whole different set of nightmare fuel. Thanks. 😉

  21. There are theories that quicksand resonated the social-psycological stresses of the pre 90s: what was solid underfoot, giving way and dragging you under.

    Now a days we are more inclined to connect with the zombie threat: the world is coming to get us and we ourselves may be turned into the threat.

    It is an interesting concept.

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