How to Survive Being Buried Alive

It’s not a situation anyone wants to be in, but if the time comes, you’ll need to be prepared.

The most important thing is not to panic. Now, this is what dooms most people. There’s not a lot of oxygen in a seven by three by two foot coffin – around five hours – though if you were unconscious when first buried, you have no idea how much air is left. If you panic, you’re a goner.

The best strategy is to be calm and look for weak spots. If the offender did their job right, it wouldn’t matter if there were, as the amount of soil on top should crush you to death if you were lucky enough to find one. The best place to look is at the end, where your feet are. Shuffle down to the bottom, pull your legs back as far as you can and drive them into it, while bracing your hands to the lid. If you were fortunate to be buried with shoes on, this will be easier. If not, push through the pain, it’s your only chance.

If the wood relents, don’t get too excited. You could still be too deep to do anything, and with such a structural failure, the weight of the soil could crush you anyway. But, at least you tried, hey?

Keep your arms in position. If you are able to wobble the lid from side to side, you are in luck. At this point, shuffle to one side, being very careful not to let the roof cave in. When you have done this, breath in deeply a few times and hold your breath, don’t worry about using up the last of the oxygen, this is your only chance.

Push with all your might with the arm nearest the side, if done right, this will cause the majority of the soil to fall to the space next to you. Again, don’t panic, don’t try and breath, as you’ll take a lungful of mud and will drown. Try and force yourself into a sitting position. This will not only get you closer to the surface, but the extra space freed by moving your body will allow more soil to fall into the coffin, and hence less above you.

This is your last move. Imagine you are swimming to the surface after being freed from the ocean floor. Rake your hands through the mud and push for freedom – you’ve got this far, you’ll get out.

If it doesn’t work out, don’t beat yourself down, you’ll die, sure, but someone will find you soon and know you tried your best. At least whoever did this to you won’t get away with it. If you do break free and into the sweet cool night air, congratulate yourself for a moment. If you know where you are, take the safest route to safety and then phone the police. If not, look for somewhere to hide to collect yourself before devising your escape plan.

You can understand how baffled I was to see her covered in dirt, panting and rattling at the chains of the gate out of my property. I have to say, I was very impressed, I almost didn’t want to bury her again, though I had to, it’s who I am. It took me days to work out how she did it. When I did, I realised it was my laziness.

How to make sure someone doesn’t survive being buried alive:

1) Use wood screws and not nails. That old adage of – the final nail in the coffin – is so stupid, they are so easy to remove if the occupant is determined.

2) Six feet deep – there’s a reason for that one – three feet isn’t enough for some people. Don’t be lazy, put the work in. A six foot hole takes a while to dig, but as they say – a stitch in time saves nine. The peace of mind it gives you is worth it.

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