Bored while fishing with his father, a 12-year-old Oklahoma boy wandered to the banks of the Washita River.
He was playing at the river’s edge Wednesday evening when quicksand suddenly took hold, trapping his legs with a perilous grip, according to the Tishomingo Fire Department.
The boy’s dad freed his left leg, but his right leg remained stuck. They needed help.
Firefighters arrived at the river fully aware of the danger quicksand poses.
The boy was at risk of “crush syndrome,” when prolonged pressure from the sand severely damages muscles and nerves. He was showing signs of hypothermia and loss of feeling in his leg, according to the fire department.
“Fortunately the river was not rising at the time, which would have created a life threatening situation for the child as well as rescuers,” Tishomingo firefighters posted on Facebook.
Quicksand is sand saturated with water that can be extremely difficult to escape. Physicists calculate the force required to pull a foot from quicksand at one centimeter per second is equal to the force required to lift an average-sized car, according to Britannica.
It is typically found at the mouths of large rivers or flat areas along streams where water pools partially fill with sand and a lower layer of clay prevents drainage, Britannica says.
Using tree limbs and driftwood, firefighters say they created a “somewhat stable” platform to stand upon while attempting to rescue the boy.
After nearly an hour, he was pulled to safety, officials say. The boy was treated for hypothermia at the scene and taken to a hospital for evaluation.