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Old 12-10-2000, 03:54 PM
Rilchiam Rilchiam is offline
Join Date: Mar 1999
Posts: 15,992
I'm doing research for a story. Roughly, how long does it take to drown? I need two figures. On average, how many minutes would it take for someone who was struggling, to finally lose consciousness? Beyond that, how long could same person be submerged before they would be beyond hope of resuscitation? This is ruling out extraneous factors, like extrememly cold water, or the victim being under the influence of alcohol.
Old 12-10-2000, 07:14 PM
Farmer Farmer is offline
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: United States
Posts: 185
Did the subject have a couple of lungfulls of air, or a little air going under. I sure you could struggle for a long time with a full amount of air going under. Smoking is a facter too. Oh yeah, watch baywatch.
Old 12-10-2000, 07:23 PM
Wild Card Wild Card is offline
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 50
I keep reading of people resusitated after a couple of minutes, especially in the cold deep lakes.
- Not grand, but still glorious it is -
Old 12-10-2000, 07:29 PM
Kyberneticist Kyberneticist is offline
Join Date: Sep 1999
Posts: 1,324
Only a couple of minutes? Heck, I can hold my breath for that long!
Old 12-10-2000, 07:34 PM
Rilchiam Rilchiam is offline
Join Date: Mar 1999
Posts: 15,992
This is someone who doesn't smoke, but can't swim at all and is so mortally afraid of water that they would make it worse for themself. Just a ballpark estimate? Two minutes? Five? Plus the "couple of minutes" it would take to successfully revive an unconscious person.
Old 12-10-2000, 08:29 PM
Squink Squink is offline
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Yes
Posts: 20,333
For a normal person, it'd take a maximum of 2-3 minutes before they went unconcious. Struggling would decrease that time, and I'm sure many people have lost conciousness and subsequently drowned in a minute or less. In warm water you start to get irreversible brain damage after 5-8 minutes of not breathing, and this sets the limit on resuscitation. There is a biochemical reflex that's triggered by cold which allows the brain to go without oxygen for up to ~an hour before resuscitation becomes impossible. While it's not something you'd want to rely on when icefishing, it could make a nice plot device.
Old 12-10-2000, 09:46 PM
Rilchiam Rilchiam is offline
Join Date: Mar 1999
Posts: 15,992
Good enough. Thank you.
Old 12-11-2000, 09:29 AM
hardhead365 hardhead365 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 75
Public television had a special last week or the week before on Scientific American Frontiers. IIRC a free diver was able to hold his breath ~ 7 minutes. It depended on the "mammalian diving reflex" meaning face down in cold water. There was also an issue of training, the longer you worked at it the longer you could hold your breath, and a safety issue, seems that you could pass out from oxygen deficiency and not have the normal breathing reflex kick in, so they always had safety divers when this trick was being done.
Old 12-11-2000, 09:59 AM
Darkwind K'Sheyna Darkwind K'Sheyna is offline
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 6
Also, what about the Native Americans that were conscripted as pearl divers during the Spanish Inquisition? According to the journals of several Spanish captains, the pearl divers would often go under for 5-6 minutes, surface for long enough to dump their load of pearls, and immediatly go back down for another 5-6 minutes, and keep this up for the entire day.


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