Johnny Phillips from National Geographic’s show ‘I Didn’t Know That’ visits a quaint coastal English village to do a bit of research on quicksand. The town is surrounded by patches of quicksand, and the coast guard members who work there are experts on how to pry someone free from it.
Phillips dons a serious wetsuit and gets to work pressing his feet into a patch of quicksand, and he ends up submerged up to his waist in a matter of eight minutes. The coast guard team then demonstrated just how incredibly difficult the process is to remove someone from this kind of situation, using special tools and lots of man power.
Phillips also debunks a few of the myths surrounding quicksand that are largely a result of over-dramatization in movies, like The Princess Bride. In Hollywood representations of quicksand, an unfortunate character usually steps onto a patch of quicksand and disappears within seconds, but this isn’t realistic in the slightest. It takes Phillips eight minutes to submerge up to his waste, for example, and he was specifically trying to lodge himself into the quicksand.
According to How Stuff Works, quicksand is often only a few feet deep, and they go on to explain that you would not be “sucked down” into it at all. It is your movements, rather, that cause the sinking as you displace sand with your body. Quicksand is essentially just over-saturated sand, and because there is so much water present, friction between the grains is reduced to a point that the patch of sand can no longer support weight.
While you certainly won’t disappear in a matter of seconds like Hollywood movies would have you believe, there are still plenty of dangers associated with getting stuck. Deep vein thrombosis, or blood clotting in a deep vein, can occur if you remain submerged for prolonged periods of time due to the pressure of the quicksand on your body.
Check out the video below to see the strong effects of quicksand in action, followed by the intense process of being removal.