Why Dead body Floats In Water While A Living Body Sinks

A dead body in the water starts to sink as soon as the air in its lungs is replaced with water. Once submerged, the body stays underwater until the bacteria in the gut and chest cavity produce enough gas – methane, hydrogen sulfide, and carbon dioxide – to float it to the surface like a balloon. The buildup of methane, hydrogen sulfide, and other gases can take days or weeks, depending on a number of factors.

Not all parts of the dead body inflate the same amount at first: the torso, which contains the most bacteria, bloats more than the head and limbs. The most buoyant sections of the body rise first, leaving behind the chest, abdomen, head and limbs to drag. Since the arms, legs, and head can only drape forward from the body, the bodies tend to rotate in such a way that the torso floats in front of it, hanging arms and legs under it.

This is how most dead bodies float but there are exceptions: The lower the limbs, the greater the likelihood of a dead body floating upward – short arms and legs generate less drag. Also, if a dead body remains long on the water surface, the built-up gas will be released and it will sink again. Decomposition continues underwater – more gas accumulates – and the dead body can become what rescue employees sometimes call a “refloat.” Because refloats are in a more sophisticated state of decay, they may be bloated more uniformly and thus more likely to float face-up.

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There may be distinct floating patterns of bodies that are dead before they reach water. A corpse that falls into the face-first could stay on the ground as there would be no way to escape the air inside the lungs while the face-up corpse would fill with water and sink in the ordinary fashion. There may be two options with regard to the cause of death when a cadaver is discovered in a water body:

1. The individual was killed by drowning. (Filling the lungs when the individual is alive)

2. The individual died for another reason. (Filling the lungs after death)

The dead body sinks down after the lungs are filled with water. Here, separate microorganisms take their course along with lysosomal enzymes and decompose the tissues thus generating distinct gasses (e.g. methane, carbon dioxide) that occupy the distinct spaces in the body and cause the body to rise to the surface. So it’s like the body stays at the bottom for the first few hours and then goes up.

Biological reason for dead body floating:

After a healthy human dies in water, vital bacteria current in the human intestine are triggered twice and produce enormous quantities of gasses such as carbon dioxide, methane, hydrogen sulphide, etc. which makes the body like a balloon and finally the body’s density is less than water, resulting in dead body floats owing to the elevated pace of decomposition.

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It is extremely observed in the rare of male decomposition than woman.

This is the typical biological explanation why dead bodies are floating in water.

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If you have any contributions or questions, feel free to use the comment section below.

The medical information provided in this article is provided as an information resource only. This information does not create any patient-physician relationship and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.
About Ochemba Callistus Chinedu 143 Articles
"Ochemba Callistus Chinedu is a certified Medical Laboratory Scientist (B.MLS). Currently, He is a Certified SEO Manager, Content writer/developer and founder of Nedufy: www.nedufy.com. He enjoys reading, writing, travelling, general health, and learning new things."

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