When people think of quicksand, they think of cartoonish flailing and waving as a person sinks to their neck, only to be saved in the knick of time, but is it really that easy to be saved from the clutches of such a strong force? When water floods areas with sand, it forces the sand to dilute into a mix of weighted earth that becomes so weak and so mushy, it can’t even support the weight of a human being. It’s not one of the strangest phenomenons that happens in mother nature, but to an innocent bystander taking a stroll on what looks like a soppy beach, it can make for a terrifying ordeal.
So Can You Survive Quicksand?
During an experiment, a National Geographic reporter visited an English village known for having plentiful patches of the deadly watery graves. He agreed to not only step into the quicksand, but allow filmmakers to record it. “I appear to be sinking,” he said nervously. As the reporter wriggled and struggled, he stated that it felt as if it was moving the weak earth below him at a faster rate, essentially making him sink quicker the more he moved. Experts from the village stood by with grins as the sand reached the reporter’s knees.
“Okay,” he said, “I’m starting to feel nervous about the whole situation now.” At the fast pace of eight minutes, the reporter was beyond waste deep in the sand, to which he had to be pulled out by the local professionals who claimed that the beach couldn’t have signs warning of quick sand because it is typically a fleeting phenomenon.
“Tomorrow this won’t be quicksand because quicksand moves,” an official stated, “and it moves day in, day out with the tidal movements.” While waist deep, the reporter asked the official whether there was anything a person could do to survive quicksand on their own and the professional stated that the best method was to not struggle, but to slowly lay on one’s back, essentially pulling their legs up with their upper shoulders and back. This, however, wasn’t an option for the reporter since the official stated the method only works if one is ankle deep.
The reporter in actuality had to be helped by four professionals with several powerful tools, and the entire ordeal still took over ten minutes. So the chances of surviving quicksand? Not too good.
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