Stumbling into a quicksand seems to be a scary predicament. Thanks to movies and television which gave these sink holes a bad reputation. However, a real quicksand will not suck people all the way in. But getting out in one can be difficult.
Contrary to its depiction in media, a man who is stuck in a quicksand will only sink to his waist, elbows or armpits, depending on how much he weighs and what he is carrying. Objects in a quicksand will sink only to the level at which their weight is equal to the weight of the displaced sand/water mix. In fact, humans will float in quicksands!
There are people who die in quicksands but not because they were submerged completely but because they weren’t able to get out quickly enough. They are most likely to be killed by exposure to the elements such as extreme temperatures and incoming tide.
The key in surviving a quicksand is by not panicking and violently struggling out of the pit. Composed of a combination of fine sand, clay, and water, a quicksand liquefies very quickly when agitated. This simply means that a trapped body will sink deeper because of movements, making an escape a bit more difficult.
Asking someone to tug on you is also not a good idea. The suctioning effect of the quicksand will make it difficult to pull you out of the pit in one piece!
The best thing you can do is to spread your weight out and improve your buoyancy by gently leaning backwards. Then, wriggle your legs around to build up space between your legs and the quicksand through which water can flow down to dilate loosen the sand. This must be done slowly and progressively.
When you have successfully loosen your legs out of the muck, try to gently bring them up towards the surface. Once your legs and midsection are at or on the surface, use your arms to gently and slowly paddle your way to the edge of the pit. Never submerge your entire hands or arms all the way or they may end up stuck as well.
Once on the edge of a more stable ground, use your hands to crawl up to safety.