Drowning, Exposure, or Pressure

I am sitting on the side of a boat floating in the mid-Atlantic, with big ugly gentlemen attaching a 5 gallon drum of concrete to my feet. When they push me overboard, assuming I have a phenomenal lung capacity, which will kill me first, drowning, exposure, or the water pressure? I’m about 6’3”, 225 lbs.

I’m confused about the ‘phenomenal lung capacity’ line; this just makes it confusing to work out whether you will drown. How ‘phenomenal’ is it in this example?

Drowning. I don’t think you’d sink fast enough for the pressure to kill you. At best, an average person can go without air for a few minutes, though you’ll likely lose conciousness before then.


Humans, being composed most of water, can be subjected to a great deal of pressure without being killed. (Subsequent decompression can cause problems, however.)

You’d be dead from drowning before hypothermia became an issue.

Unless you’re in the arctic, exposure is going to be a poor third.

Freedivers have been known to perform dives of 500 feet. A five gallon drum of concrete is probably going to weigh maybe 100-150 pounds. Heavy, but probably not heavy enough to drag you plummeting into the depths at high speeds as you have a fair amount of bouyancy. Let’s assume that you sink at about 3 feet per second. That would mean that you’d be at 270 feet at the 1 1/2 minute mark which is when most untrained people would be gasping for air (especially under these rather stressful conditions). I’d have to go with drowning.

The bad news: you’ll die from drowning, and the pressure will help with this (whether you know how to clear your ears, you will quickly learn as the pain will be excruciating. But in doing so, you’ll be releasing air. And the increased pressure will be shrinking your lungs).

The good news: you’ll be so cold, you may black out before you actually experience the drowning (mid-Atlantic, right ?)

Let’s say 3-5 minutes…

Is this a trick question? You would die of the .22 Fat Angie shot into the back of your head before pushing you into the water, of course. All the rest is just gravy.

Wasdn’t this similar to the opening in one of Clive Cussler’s books?

I’d die from shock. Most of the time I can’t clear my ears. I’d probably pass out from pain at around 25ft depth. :frowning: