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Dive Under the Explosion

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There's a noted tendency for those of an Action Hero persuasion to somehow always end up diving into water to avoid an explosion. There's just something cool about Outrunning the Fireball by the skin of your teeth as you enter the water for safety. The diver probably possesses Super Not-Drowning Skills, but it may also involve a Kiss of Life when two or more people dive into the water.

There may be Truth in Television, as this trope was deemed plausible by Mythbusters on 31 March 2010: shockwaves were proven to be partially dampened by the water, to a degree dependent on the explosive used.

May overlap with Symbolic Serene Submersion. Not to be confused with Dunking the Bomb, where the explosion happens underwater (making it the worst place to be).


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    Films — Animated 
  • Done accidentally on The Incredibles. Dash is using his Super-Speed to run on water as he's being chased by two mooks on hovercrafts. When they corner him in a cave, he stops running and falls into the water, just as the mooks crash together in a fiery explosion.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome occurs in Dunkirk. One character dives under water when an oil slick bursts into flame, but can't hold his breath long enough.
  • In Eraser, Arnold dives underwater to avoid a gas explosion.
  • In The Expendables 3, Stonebanks drops a smart bomb on the team; they collectively dive into the water to evade the blast. Then Stonebanks snipes Caesar in the back and neck from his chopper as they climb back out.
  • Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home has a version with burning oil where Jesse hangs onto Willy and they swim under.
  • A variation in The Gray Man (2022). Sierra Six is captured in a Trap Door pit in someone's basement. He's able to break a waterpipe, filling the pit with water, then he rigs his gun to fire into a gas pipe, and triggers it when the pit is almost full and he's dived beneath the water. Several mooks had just showed up to finish him off, so the trapdoor roof blows up in their faces.
  • In Rambo: First Blood Part II, the titular character dives into a lake in the Vietnam jungle, to avoid a massive explosion brought on by a bomb-like object dropped by a helicopter.
  • In The Rock, after the SEAL massacre, Mason and Goodspeed do this to escape a fiery death when Hummel's men start dropping C4 charges and firebombs into the sewers.
  • In Tomorrow Never Dies, Bond and Wei Lin escape from the Big Bad's exploding stealth ship by dropping into the water through the port used to dispatch and pick up on-board submersibles, emerging to the surface to breath again once the explosions stop.
  • The Transporter: Frank Martin grabs a Giant Mook and jumps into the water with him to avoid an explosion, using the man's lungs for extra air while doing so.
  • In True Lies, Arnold dives underwater to avoid getting burned by a gas explosion.

  • The Executioner. In a scene depicted on the cover of "The Fire Eaters", a teenage hitman after Mack Bolan detonates a firebomb as Bolan leaves his hotel room, and he escapes by jumping into the hotel pool. Other bystanders aren't so lucky.
  • In Temple of the Winds, Kahlan and Nadine are chasing a wizard through a drainage tunnel. Once they come close, he starts launching fireballs from the other end, so they have to dive under the water and swim the rest of the way.
  • The Third World War: In the alarmist reconstruction of what might have happened if World War Three had broken out in the 1980s, the war inevitably becomes a limited nuclear exchange. The author notes that people pleasure-boating twenty miles away from Ground Zero had the presence of mind to abandon ship and dive overboard, to seek to escape the blast-wave and backdraft from the fireball washing over them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • MythBusters: They tested the "Dive to Survive" trope. It was ruled plausible but dependent on what type of explosive is being used. It worked well against a Hollywood-style gasoline fireball, but the ANFO broke every single blast disk.

    Web Videos 
  • In Freeman's Mind 2, Gordon attempts this as the Metro cops start dropping flaming barrels into the sewer with him, but also worries, with how shallow the water is, the shockwaves might still collapse his lungs.

    Western Animation 
  • In one episode of The Little Mermaid (1992), after Ariel and the others jam up a machine with a wrench, they dive under the water just before it explodes, Scuttle as well. A few minutes later:
    Scuttle: Hey! Why am I underwater?
  • In the Rick and Morty episode "Rick and Morty's Thanksploitation Spectacular", the President survives a suicide attack by his evil doppelganger by diving into the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

    Real Life 
  • Naval personnel are usually taught that if they dive from a sinking ship they are to sweep the water with their arms as they resurface in order to clear away burning oil or debris.


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