Antony Britton's plan: to pull a Harry Houdini and claw his way to the surface after being handcuffed and buried underneath 6 feet of soil. But his charity stunt in West Yorkshire on Saturday took an almost deadly turn when the escape artist was smothered by the dirt and passed out, the Guardian reports. "The soil was … compacting and crushing me," he tells the paper. "I remember then getting my right arm stuck in the soil and I started passing out. At that point … I just remember thinking it's up to the ground crew to do their job." He adds, per the Huddersfield Daily Examiner: "I could feel myself losing consciousness and there was nothing I could do about it. I was pretty much dying."
But rescuers came through, nine minutes into Britton's attempt, and cleared dirt from his throat and administered oxygen while spectators watched in tears, notes the Guardian. Britton's minor injuries: some scrapes, bruises, and a cracked rib. The escape, which he was doing to raise money for leukemia and lymphoma research, is only believed to have been attempted (and failed) twice before in the last century, including once by Houdini himself. Even though Britton tells the Examiner he's disappointed he passed out just 2 feet from the surface, he says he won't be trying this trick again. (Then there's the case of Florida's "prison Houdini.")