- Ryan Osmun, of Mesa, Arizona, was stuck in quicksand at Utah’s Zion National Park for ten hours on Saturday.
- He and his girlfriend, Jessika McNeill, were hiking the park’s “Subway Route” when they encountered the quicksand.
- McNeill got stuck first, but Osmun got stuck while helping her get out.
- McNeill had to hike for three hours before finding a rescue team to help Osmun – then they had to camp over night while waiting for a storm to clear so Osmun could be airlifted out of the area.
A 34-year-old hiker was trapped in quicksand for hours before being rescued in Utah’s Zion National Park over the weekend.
Ryan Osmun, of Mesa, Arizona, was hiking the park’s “Subway Route” trail with his girlfriend, Jessika McNeill, on Saturday when McNeill fell into quicksand.
As he helped her out, however, his own right leg was swallowed up to his hip.
“The best way to describe it would be … standing in a huge puddle of concrete that basically dries instantly,” he told CBS News.
The couple were about four miles into a remote 10-mile hike when they hit the quicksand, Zion’s public information officer Aly Baltrus told INSIDER.
Temperatures hit a low of 17F and a high of 32F in Zion on Saturday.
In the freezing cold, McNeill hiked for help, leaving Osmun trapped and alone.
After three hours of hiking, she found park rangers to assist in the rescue and it took them seven more hours to reach Osmun again.
Once with Osmun, it took two more hours to free him from the quicksand and warm his leg, Baltrus told INSIDER.
“One guy scraping sand away, they were able to free my leg. It was probably one of the worst pains I’ve ever felt,” Osmun told CBS News.
A winter storm hit during the rescue, and the group had to camp overnight.
On Sunday, Osmun was airlifted out of the park and taken to a hospital.
He suffered hypothermia and mild muscle damage, but is expected to make a full recovery, according to CBS News.
McNeill was also diagnosed with hypothermia.
Baltrus told INSIDER that quicksand is not usually a problem at Zion, but it can happen under the right conditions.
“It can form in saturated loose sand with standing water (in this case, he stepped into a small sand filled pothole with one leg),” she said. “If it is at the ideal saturation point, and you step into it, the water cannot escape and it creates a liquefied soil that cannot support weight and creates a suction. We have been unusually wet here this winter. The weather was most likely a contributing factor.”
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