Quicksand is a colloid of water and loose sand. When this water in the sand can’t escape, liquidized soil is formed and as it loses strength, it can no longer support weight. As portrayed in movies, quicksands aren’t that dangerous. Most often humans are less dense than quicksand, thus sinking in completely won’t happen like how actors in movies sink in. But a quicksand can be deadly not because you’ll sink in it completely, but because it isn’t easy to come out once you are caught in it. Your body is prone to suffocation, hypothermia, crush syndrome, predators, or dehydration. And the ones that are in riverbeds are more dangerous because death by drowning in river water is highly possible. Quicksand can be found in places with grainy soil like riverbanks, shorelines, beaches and at areas with underground springs. So, here are some tips that you can use to help yourself to survive a quicksand, if you happen to accidentally step into one, which I really hope you don’t.
The key is to stay still, it’s only when you panic and mindlessly try to move, you sink in. Throw out everything you are carrying on you. This includes your shoes, bag, your jacket, or anything that weighs you down. Also, be careful not to throw your phone out, you might need to call for help.
Stay calm, do not fret. You won’t die. When you relax, your body’s buoyancy will cause you to float. Be calm and let the gravity take over. And, make sure to breathe deeply and properly. More the air in your lungs, the quicker you float. If you feel like you are sinking, quickly get on your back, spread yourself out and wiggle your legs free. This will increase your surface area, and once you are no longer rooted to the sand, slowly paddle with your arms/ roll your body backwards to solid ground.
Take your time, panicking in a quicksand has never been of use to anyone. Unplanned wild movements can hurt and exhaust you. It is a long process if you do not have anybody’s help, so take breaks and never over tire your body. It is possible to get out of a quicksand.
Being prepared is something that can help us in general. If you know that you are going to a place that is prone to quicksand, carry a stick along. Just like in Jayam Ravi’s Peranmai, you use it to test the ground in front of you and also help yourself to pull yourself if you are caught in one. As soon as you realise you’ve stepped on a quicksand, quickly grab onto something, a branch, a friend’s hand, or anything that’s solid around you before your foot actually gets stuck in there.
Be careful when you are camping out near river beds, shorelines, but don’t stop from exploring the wild. Be safe, have fun, and remember not to disturb the order of nature when you are in it. We are all just another part of the planet, and we are no way superior to nature.