TikTok star Jason Clark told his followers on Instagram this week that he nearly died filming a stunt for the popular social media platform, getting trapped under the ice while swimming in a frozen lake.
As People reports, Clark maintains a TikTok channel dedicated to his outdoor adventures, and a while back he decided to film himself doing a “point-to-point” swim underneath the ice atop a frozen lake. In a “point-to-point” swim, the adventurer enters the lake through one hole in the ice, swims a certain distance, and emerges at another.
Obviously such a stunt is extremely dangerous, with hypothermia and drowning being at the top of the list of risks associated with it, and should only be attempted by experts.
Clark says he learned that the hard way.
He says that, within seconds of going into the frigid water, his eyeballs froze — “I didn’t think my eyeballs would freeze so quick,” he said. At this point, it bears noting that it’s physiologically impossible for human eyeballs to freeze while their owner is still alive, according to KnowledgeNuts. However, Clark could be using hyperbole, or he could have used the words as a figure of speech, and that he simply meant his vision went out, perhaps due to the shock of the cold water.
Either way, he got disoriented under the water and, as he explains to his followers in an Instagram video, he couldn’t find the hole through which he was supposed to exit. He then decided to try to find the hole he entered the water in.
In his haste to get back to the starting point, he followed a bunch of debris he had kicked up. This actually made it even harder for him to find his way, because the debris had floated away from the original location. Making matters worse, from underneath the ice it’s difficult to tell an opening from just the bottom of the ice.
Fortunately, he was able to emerge just as he was about to pass out. He says that it took him a while to regain his vision once he was out of the water.
You can watch Clark’s video below, but be warned: it contains content that may be disturbing to some viewers.
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I have never been this close to dying. I didn’t think my eyeballs would freeze so quick. The surface of the water where the hole was didn’t look any different than the bottom of the ice. When I flipped around and felt solid ice I thought I was at the hole. When I wasn’t that’s when I decided to head back and follow the dust I kicked up. The dust I kicked up had drifted and led me further away. I then tried to break the ice with my back, you can see in the video. I don’t know what made me turn around one last time. I was so short on breath I couldn’t really see anymore. I had accepted that was it and I wasn’t going to make it. I swung my hand at what I though was just a lighter spot of ice and my hand came through. I then got a ton of energy to stand up. It took 2-3 breaths to regain my vision after resurfacing. Aftermath is in the other video. ????: @abbytodolist was filming. When there are scary moments I joke a lot. She genuinely thought it was another one of my jokes and didn’t recognize the severity of the situation.
Although Clark claims to have learned his lesson, he attempted the swim again, this time with “comically big” holes in the ice.
“Second attempt went a little better,” he said.
Social media platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and others have been accused of putting children and teenagers (and in some cases, adults) in danger, showing videos of people performing dangerous stunts that inspire copycats, as BBC News reported in 2017.