FL man, 78, survives 8 hours trapped in quicksand, among snakes

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LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – Imagine being pinned underneath quicksand in a creek for eight hours, not able to move while water moccasins swim nearby.

It’s not a scene from a Hollywood movie, it’s something that actually happened to a 78-year-old Lakeland man. Fortunately, he lived to tell about it, thanks to workers with the City of Lakeland.

Last week, Bob Broyles went outside around midnight to feed the turtles in the creek behind his home.” I feed them every night, starting at 5:30 p.m. I’m a night owl! I go out a few times,” Broyles said. “It’s so peaceful.”

The flashlight Broyles had on his head fell down the steep bank of the creek, he tried to get it, but instead slid down into the water head first.

“I went head first into the quicksand,” Broyles said. “I got my face out of the quicksand. I thought I was above the water, but I wasn’t,” he said. “I drank a little bit before I got to the surface.”

Broyles tried, but couldn’t get the rest of his body out. “Twice I tried to come up but I couldn’t do it. I got my back against the hill and just laid there. The only thing that scared me was the water moccasins.”

A little after daylight, help finally arrived. Broyles spotted a city vehicle driving by the other side of the canal and yelled. Environmental Technician Ed White and a temporary employee, Genaro Rivera, jumped into action and pulled Broyles to safety.

“Boy was I glad to see those guys,” Broyles said. He was so thankful that he bought each of the workers gift cards to Red Lobster. “I had to thank them again.”

Broyles now tethers himself to a fence surrounding his property so this won’t happen again. “It lets me know how far I can go.”

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