How long would a person survive if buried alive?

If there's one thing that scares most people, it's the possibility of being buried alive, and what's worse is that there are records of people who, unfortunately, ended up in the grave before, well ... died. But what happens to someone who - unfortunately - is subjected to this kind of experience? What's more, how long would a human being be able to survive locked up in a coffin under seven feet of earth?

There is no consensus on how long a healthy adult would be able to stay alive in such a situation and, depending on the source consulted, the timeframe can range from 10 minutes to anywhere from 6 to 36 hours. On the other hand, scientists agree that survival depends on the amount of air available in the coffin, so we can consider some issues to arrive at an approximate period.


According to Christina Cala of the Popular Science portal, the smaller the person buried, the longer she can survive this ordeal - as she will occupy less space in the coffin, allowing more air to fit into the coffin. In addition, if it is a swimmer or marathon runner, the survival period can be extended by 1 or 2 minutes, thanks to the increased lung capacity that would allow the subject to hold their breath longer.

The coffins have standard sizes and, considering one just over 2 meters long, 71 centimeters wide and 58 centimeters high, this means that it has a total volume of approximately 885 liters - which would be filled with air.

Imagine the despair!

But if we put a person inside - on average, a human body has a volume of 66 liters - the free space in the coffin drops to about 820 liters, of which about one fifth (or 164 liters) would correspond to oxygen. So, considering that the buried keeps calm and consumes half a liter of oxygen per minute, that would give him a period of about five and a half hours or so until all the oxygen in the coffin was gone.

The problem is that, in this situation, the living buried person would surely be extremely nervous and put a lot of effort into trying to escape - which would make him consume oxygen faster and so the air would be gone sooner. Once oxygen was extinguished, carbon dioxide would accumulate inside the coffin, causing the buried to first enter a state of drowsiness that would progress to coma until his heart finally stopped beating. End.

The result of the experiment would be nothing positive

What's worse is that even if the subject can escape from inside the coffin, that doesn't mean his problems are over! Do not forget that - in theory - the person is under seven feet of earth. And that is a lot of land! In addition, the earth will be all compacted, which means there would not be much air available.

Not to mention that the weight of all this material would prevent the individual from expanding his chest to breathe in and, even if he could, the earth would enter his mouth and nasal passages, causing his choking. So one thing is for sure: if the guy has a conventional burial sooner or later, he will end up dying.