What would you do ? (11) The Solution

“What would you do ?” used to figure on the cover of a boys’ comic called “Boys’ World”. This was a publication, obviously, aimed at boys, and first appeared on January 26th 1963. There were 89 issues before the comic was merged with Eagle on October 3rd 1964.

I used to buy “Boys’ World”, and this was mainly for the front cover which always featured a kind of puzzle.

It was called “What would you do ?” and was based on somebody being in what Ned Flanders would call “A dilly of a pickle”. Here’s the situation, as always, explained in the coloured box:

And the correct solution given on page 2 of the comic is:

“The crashed pilot took off his jacket and spread it across the swamp before him. He then leaned forward on the jacket, reaching for firm ground. In this way he eased his way to safety . For the jacket acted as a kind of platform, enabling the pilot to distribute his weight more evenly. Snowshoes act in much the same way on soft, deep snow.”

Now personally, I don’t think this would work. I think that the first time you put your jacket down it would disappear into the swamp and you’d lose it for ever. My solution, if it qualifies as such, was based on lying very still in the water/mud etc and hopefully finding a small log to act as a float. Even better would be to have an aircraft with a inflatable dinghy in the wing and to know how to find it, release it and paddle away.

I did a blogpost about this a good while ago. It was called “The Luckiest Man in the World” (4) and concerned Tom Weightman, an RAF rear gunner who survived a crash on a lake in Norway because he knew where the aircraft’s dinghy was stored, unlike his six colleagues who all perished trying to swim to shore. You can find the story here.

This was not the first time that Tom had been the only survivor. Read how he escaped a fatal crash at Dilhorne near Stoke some time previously here.

14 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Wildlife and Nature

14 responses to “What would you do ? (11) The Solution

  1. Pierre Lagacé

    For me the jacket was a non-starter as you have explained. I don’t think there was a dinghy inside that plane also. If there was one I don’t believe he could have reached it. Also remember the plane was on fire. So we are left with a gorilla passing by and lending a helping hand.

    • Well, at least you’d make a new friend. And in North American swamps, you might even get to meet Bigfoot himself and discover whether he is an amiable hairy chap who enjoys a game of cards or an aggressive cannibal who is happy to eat your liver whether or not he has any fava beans or a nice Chianti.

  2. Great one John. But just to be fussy about it all (and allow myself that pat on the back), I think it largely depends upon the density of the ‘water’ and whether it is water or more like quick sand. I assumed it was the later hence I think the coat would work. Perhaps there should now be an official enquiry!

    • I don’t know about the water or the quicksand, but it would be a cruel thing to do to snatch victory away from you. Let’s presume it was an English swamp with quicksand and therefore your solution would have worked.
      Many years ago I was out birdwatching and I got stuck up to mid-thigh in a swamp. It was really scary and I was lucky that there was a suitably stout tree branch within reach to pull myself out.

  3. Jan

    Which is why you should always pay attention to the pre-flight safety demonstration when you are off on your hols.

    I wonder, in the event of a ditch-landing, do Ryan Air charge extra for the use of their Mae West?

    • I would be disappointed if they didn’t ! The next step for them might well be to emulate the car hire firms with their “self-drive” and offer flights to Rome, say, on a “self-fly” basis.

  4. NO. I agree with you that it wouldn’t work. In a boggy swamp the best way is to treat it as water – which it is – and swim.

    • I think you are right there. Years ago I watched an American TV programme called “Stuck in a swamp” and it recounted the terrifying stories of people who were stuck in swamps miles from anywhere with only themselves to get them out. The conclusion was to relax as much as possible and try to float. Once you were floating you then stood a chance of moving slowly in the right direction. And it worked, although some of them were there for well over 24 hours trying to get out.

  5. Pierre Lagacé

    Thanks for the ride Paul.

  6. It would be difficult to remove his jacket if he was sinking. And in real life, very few would be able to remain calm. But I can imagine boys thinking of the best solution 🙂

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