Life and Death > Death Details

After drowning


Antonio G.:
My character(s) are killed by drowning into the sea.
Now, I read several different things on what happens to an human body in the sea water and I'm a little confused. May I ask a few questions?
A) classical: the body sinks or floats? I read it sinks initially and then, after due time, it begins to float thanks to internal gases. Is it true? After how much time the body emerges on the surface?
B)given that the victims are wearing their clothes, shoes, etc, is it possibile that the would ne attracted to the botton by the weight of the clothing?
C) decomposition. How it differs decomposition intorno water from decomposition on the surface? Thanks in advance

I am no expert in the field of biology but I am pretty certain that a) the body sinks initially as the air in the lungs, that is required to keep it afloat, is replaced by water. Once the body sinks, the bacteria inside the body starts to disintegrate the body cells releasing gases like hydrogen. These gases fill the body and makes it float again. b) And I don't think clothes and shoes would prevent the dead body to float again. I have seen clothed bodies floating in the sea!     

Old Bill:
I had a case of a decomposed mutilated human torso, sans head, arms, & legs, WASH up on the shore of a lake. As I recall, it did not float probably due to the gases venting from all the wounds.
You and Thomas have it right. But depending on how long your victims will be in the sea, fish may attack the bodies so they never resurface.

Good luck with your story!


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