Every year victims get stuck in mud, quick-sand and fall through ice, and it is astonishing how few rescue organizations have the right sort of equipment to reach victims quickly.
Why do people get stuck?
Mud / Sand
Mud and sand changes viscosity when tidal waters surge sometimes faster than a man can run. One minute the mud can be a hard surface, the next, water levels rise and the mud/sand becomes sticky and suction can trap the victim. To release a victim trapped in mud/sand, you need to pump air under the feet with a air lance to release the suction. Obviously boats don’t do so well over mud, the victim can drown if not quickly released, and after a short time they can suffer the effects of hypothermia, and lose mobility – so throwing a lifeline might be futile if they cannot hold onto the rope. Pulling a victim from sand or mud without releasing the suction can damage their spine if you exert too much pressure.
Snow mobiles, ice fishermen and dog walkers regularly fall through thin ice, hence the old saying about skating over thin ice – don’t do it!
Dog walkers loose all sense of rational thinking – consider this, most humans are heavier than dogs, so if a dog has fallen through the ice, there is a pretty good chance that a heavier person will do so likewise. You can prove this fact with a calculator, but most dog owners act first, think second, usually after they too, have fallen through the ice.
Health and Safety
Why should rescuers place their own lives in danger when provided with inadequate equipment? I would rather be rescued by a rational thinker than an emotionally charged but inadequately prepared wannabe hero – not that I would be fussy about who rescued me, but how guilty would I be if the rescuer needed also to be rescued? Rescuers need proper equipment, so their lives are not put into danger.
Rescue boats don’t do ice, mud or sand – hovercraft do, and very quickly reach victims with the necessary air lance to release the suction for victims stuck in mud.
Helicopters are vastly more expensive to purchase and operate, and create 100 mile per hour downdraft winds that necessitate long winch cables that take time to deploy.
Hovercraft can very quickly save a person from drowning, and reduce the effects of hypothermia by getting the victim quickly to hospital.