Why are people getting caught in quicksand on a Swedish beach?

Why are people getting caught in quicksand on a Swedish beach?
A beach in Trelleborg on a warmer day than February. Photo: Christer Berg/TT
A town in southern Sweden has urged beach goers to be careful after people reported getting caught in quicksand.

At least two people in Trelleborg, in the southernmost part of Sweden, have reported getting stuck in quicksand on the beach, according to regional newspaper Sydsvenskan which first reported the incidents.

Trelleborg Council's head of parks on Wednesday urged people to be careful.

“We have had a lot of rain in January and there is a lot of water in the brooks. And when water and fine sand mix, things can get unstable,” Mark Huisman told Trelleborgs Allehanda.

Trelleborg's beaches stretch for almost 40 kilometres, and there is no clear information about exactly where the sand may be treacherous.


The beach in Trelleborg, southern Sweden. Photo: GoogleMaps

A woman previously told Sydsvenskan she sank so far down into the sand she lost her balance.

“I didn't stop sinking. My legs disappeared completely. I then lost my balance and fell forward. I was going to use my hands for support, but then my arms obviously got caught as well,” she said.

Another woman got stuck with her horse, when it sank to the point where she could no longer remove her feet from the stirrups. The horse and rider eventually managed to crawl to safety after several attempts.

While quicksand is not quite as dramatic as it appears in movies, it can still cause problems.

If you do get stuck and cannot get out, try to stay calm and think of the sand as water – you will only sink to a certain point, which for an adult is around waist height.

Lean back and let yourself float to the surface, then slowly try to edge your way back to solid ground.

Do not make any fast movements, because that will only make you sink further down.

Editor's note: An additional report by Trelleborgs Allehanda about a third woman who broke her ankle due to quicksand in Böste, east of Trelleborg, turned out to be a false alarm. The article has been edited to reflect this.


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