A renowned Israeli drag queen barely escaped after getting trapped in a sinkhole while hiking around the Dead Sea this week.
Lior Israelov — better known as “Suzi Boum” — was exploring the hot springs near the Dead Sea with a friend earlier this week, when he stepped on what he thought was a pile of mud.
Suddenly, he told the Maariv newspaper, “my legs were deep inside and the mud was covering half my body.” Israelov struggled to free himself but only ended up deeper in the mud.
“I thought that if I keep sinking further the mud will cover me entirely and I won’t survive,” he recounted to Channel 12 news on Tuesday.
Israelov said the mud was burning hot and he could feel himself being scratched by rocks as he tried to pull himself out of the sinkhole. “I was totally hysterical and I felt that I was going to faint,” he told Maariv.
Eventually, he recalled, he managed to use a large rock to pull himself out. Israelov was left with burns and scratches up and down his legs — and without his sandals, which were sucked up by the mud.
“Whoever goes there must know how to be careful,” he told Channel 12. To Maariv, Israelov summed up the experience as “unpleasant.”
“We have an incredible country, go out and explore, but be careful — don’t play games with your life.”
Appearing as Suzi Boum, Israelov performed at the Pride Parade in Tel Aviv last month and took a photo with now-Prime Minister Yair Lapid.
“When was the last time you saw a prime minister of the State of Israel at the pride parade and taking a photo with a drag queen?” he wrote. “What a statement and an incredible message this sends to the world.”
The Dead Sea, a spectacular expanse of water in the desert, flanked by cliffs to the east and west, has lost a third of its surface area since 1960.
The blue water recedes about a meter every year, leaving behind a lunar landscape whitened by salt and perforated with gaping sinkholes, some of which can exceed 10 meters (33 feet) in depth.
AFP contributed to this report.