PORTLAND, Ore. -- Rescue crews found themselves chest deep in mud in Lake Oswego Monday.
Members of both Lake Oswego and Clackamas County fire departments got down and dirty to train for potential mud rescues.
The lake was recently drained for sewer line work. Last week a young deer wandered out onto it and got stuck.
It took about 40 minutes to finally wriggle itself free. In another instance a construction worker slipped off a sewer pipe and fell chest deep into the mud.
Thankfully his co-workers were able to save him.
But these close calls prompted rescue crews to conduct a mock mud-rescue training drill. Using a water-craft normally used for ice rescues, crews pulled firefighter Scott Carlson out of the mud.
"It basically felt like being in concrete," said Carlson of the experience. He said the more he moved in the mud, the worse his situation got.
"As you move your body actually goes down the gravity and weight of your body will dig those holes in allowing you to get stuck even more," said Carlson.
Kelly Stelk, who lives on the lake, says he's seen a lot of kids wandering onto the mud. He says most are safe, but he does worry about those who wander too close.
"They can’t go walking out there... there's just no way," said Stelk.
Firefighters say even if the mud looks hard and dry or cracked, it's still likely a mushy mess underneath. "It's like quick sand you sink further and further," said Lake Oswego Fire Marshal Gert Zoutendijk.
The bottom line: Stay off the lake bed. But rescuers say if you do get stuck in mud try to maneuver onto your back and then roll over the mud toward the shore. Don't struggle, it will just make you sink deeper.
It will be spring before the lake gets refilled and rescuers say with the rainy season moving in, things will only get worse.