# Just How Screwed Are You If You Find Yourself Buried Alive?

November 1, 2013
Josh Wolford
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I don’t think there are too many people out there that find the famous coffin scene in Kill Bill, Vol. 2 to be all that believable. Entertaining? Of course. But nobody really thinks that one could punch their way out of a buried coffin and scamper to the surface. Well, I don’t know – people will believe anything. Whatever, who really cares. That’s a great movie, and I haven’t seen it in so long. I should watch that this weekend.

Anyway, back to science. So, being buried alive is probably one of the most horrifying things that could happen to someone. Short of anything involving spiders and creepy department store mannequins, I can’t really think of anything worse. Popular Science recently asked the question, “How Long Could You Survive In A Coffin If You Were Buried Alive?” – and the answer is not very long.

Beatrix Kiddo was screwed.

Ok, so just how long could you survive in the lonely grave of Paula Schultz? About 5 and a half hours. Max.

From PopSci:

Let’s say the average casket measures 84 by 28 by 23 inches, so its total volume is 54.096 cubic inches, or 886 liters. We’ll use that as the internal volume too, to give you a few extra minutes of life. And the average volume of a human body is 66 liters. That leaves 820 liters of air, one-fifth of which (164 liters) is oxygen. If a trapped person consumes 0.5 liters of oxygen per minute, it would take almost 5 and a half hours before all the oxygen in the coffin was consumed.

And they’re being generous. You’d be freaked out and sucking in air at such a rapid rate – there’s no way you’d be taking in an “average” amount of oxygen.

And even if you happened to get out of the coffin (which you won’t) – you’d be under an avalanche of earth. But it would be heavier than snow. You wouldn’t be able to breathe at all – you’d have been better off in the coffin.

On the plus side, you wouldn’t be conscious for your final moments. With the carbon dioxide build up, you’d totally pass out before you actually die.

Happy day-after-Halloween, folks.

• This is Why

This is why I am being cremated when I die. I don’t want any mistakes where I wake up 6 feet under.

Kill Bill is a great movie though — totally unrealistic — but great. I have met Uma Thurman. She is very lovely and seemed to be quite nice. She is tall but very thin. I highly doubt she is kicking ass in real life. That was several years ago though. Who knows maybe she put on a hundred pounds and is now a real badass. Just kidding. Really though, she was very nice.

• http://www.ssrichardmontgomery.com ron

The Victorians were so afraid of premature burial that they had a piece of rope attached to a bell above the grave in case they woke up in the coffin. Could not happen nowadays could it…

• Aly

That’s where the term ‘Graveyard shift’ came from.

• Nick

This is actually kind of reassuring. Much better than what I thought which was that you would just slowly starve to death.