Spending 10 hours stuck in quicksand sounds like a rough weekend for anybody. For Arizona's Ryan Osmun, it was just the start. The 34-year-old was hiking with his girlfriend in Utah's Zion National Park on Saturday when the woman's leg got stuck in a creek 4.5 miles down a trail, sending her into a forward fall. Soaking wet, she eventually freed the leg. But "as I was helping her I didn't realize my right leg was sinking all the way into the sand," which felt like "wet concrete," Osmun tells FOX 13. "It felt like it had dried instantly; I couldn't move my leg at all." With Osmun "buried up to his knee" and beginning to panic, his girlfriend left him standing in the creek with warm gear and went in search of help, KUTV reports via a National Park Service release.
A search and rescue team found her showing signs of hypothermia several hours later. It was several hours more before rangers reached Osmun, who was suffering from "exposure, hypothermia, and extremity injuries," per CNN. "It started snowing really hard" half an hour after he was left alone, Osmun says. After eight hours, he says he fell asleep and collapsed into the cold water. He was freed a short time later, but even then there was no moving. The snowstorm forced the group to camp out and by morning, "it was pouring snow worse than it had been the whole time," Osmun says. It was Sunday afternoon before a helicopter finally landed and got him to an ambulance. "[I] feel very lucky to be alive and to have my leg," he says. (A chance meeting saved a hiker on the Pacific Crest Trail.)