A hiker was trapped in quicksand for hours over the weekend at Utah’s Zion National Park after saving his girlfriend from a similar fate.
Ryan Osmun was out on a hike Saturday with his girlfriend, Jessika McNeill, when she tripped into quicksand, CBS reported.
Osmun bravely helped his girlfriend out of the quicksand, only to have his own leg engulfed by the sand up to his hip.
“There was no chance of moving it at all. The sand had surrounded the whole leg and I couldn’t move it,” Osmun said.
Quicksand is dangerous because it can be tough to spot — it appears dry on the surface but it is wet underneath.
The formula for quicksand is simple: a lot of sand and a lot of water, which means the particularly wet winter in Zion National Park made it the ideal location for quicksand.
“The best way to describe it would be … standing in a huge puddle of concrete that basically just dries instantly,” Osmun explained.
McNeill dug feverishly to get her boyfriend out, but the sand kept refilling. She soon set out to find help.
“(E)very second she would scrape it would just fill back up instantly,” Osmun said according to KFOR. “That’s when I started to panic a little bit and I got scared.”
Things went from bad to worse for Osmun, as a winter storm quickly approached while he waited for his girlfriend to find help. The sun quickly began to set and the winter storm brought four inches of additional snow.
McNeill finally found help after over three hours of hiking.
“I didn’t know if I was for sure gonna make it out. I didn’t know if I could do that hike alone,” McNeill said.
“My hips were just so tired from standing like that, that they weren’t holding me up. I couldn’t, I couldn’t really control to hold myself up,” Osmun said according to KFOR. He soon collapsed and fell asleep in the frigid nearby creek.
“I thought for sure when she left that I would lose my leg,” Osmun later said, according to ABC 15. “It was pouring snow. That’s when I tucked my arms into my jacket, pulled my beanie over my face, and just put my face in my jacket. It was the only way to keep warm, the upper half of my body.”
Park rangers reached Osmun 10 hours later and dug him out, which took another two hours.
“He started to pull on that, but it just felt like it was ripping my leg off. My whole hips felt like they were ripping out,” Osmun said to KFOR.
“One guy scraping sand away, they were able to free my leg. It was probably one of the worst pains I’ve ever felt,” he said to CBS.
However, due to the storm, the couple and their rescuers were forced to stay in the park overnight in the blistering cold. During a short break in the storm, a helicopter was able to take Osmun to the hospital.
In total, Osmun was stuck in the quicksand for a horrifying 10 hours. Both he and McNeill were later diagnosed with hypothermia.
“I really wouldn’t change anything or go back and change anything or do anything differently. It was just a freak accident that my leg hit this hole of sand,” Osmun said.
What seemed like a shallow pool of water at Utah’s Zion National Park, Ryan Osmun and his girlfriend quickly discovered that it was quicksand; Osmun spent hours nearly submerged before finally being hoisted to safety. https://t.co/u9NLhXNmSU pic.twitter.com/M9SM15xgjN
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) February 20, 2019
When people hear about quicksand, they might dismiss it as cartoonish, but it’s very real and terrifying.
Osmun only suffered minor injuries to his muscles and is expected to make a full recovery after the frightening experience.
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