I just fell into a deep lake underground and miserably died because I was not able to jump out. Are there any techniques to survive in this case, or is this one of the dangerous aspects of being a miner?

6 Answers 6


If you're lucky enough to end up in a lake with rock or dirt sides (not sand) you can dig 3 sideways into the bank and 2-3 up to create an air pocket to jump up into:


# = Dirt / rock / other block
~ = Water
+ = Precious life giving air

From there you can dig your way out. I've done this so often I can now do it in pitch black darkness. Maybe I should learn to look before I leap...

  • I tried this trick yesterday, and it worked very well. The only difficulty was related to the fact that lake was dark so I had to fast switch between pickaxe and torch. I mark this as answer because it is valid also early-game.
    – Drake
    Commented May 26, 2011 at 9:57
  • 1
    @Drake: Thanks. :) Perhaps a mining helmet from the merchant would help your predicament?
    – Stu Pegg
    Commented May 26, 2011 at 10:23
  • Definitively my next buy, as soon as I have the gold.
    – Drake
    Commented May 26, 2011 at 10:30
  • 1
    @Drake: You can dig out a tile in the dirt two tiles below the bottom of the water, so it creates a single tile of space with no water in it, and put a torch there. Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 23:27

Get yourself some flippers so you can swim out, or a grappling hook to climb. I believe rocket boots would also work underwater, though they're rare.

A breathing reed would give you a little better chance of not drowning, and a balloon would improve your jump height.

If none of these options are available, you can try digging an air pocket, as explained in this answer.

  • 3
    You forgot to mention the Magic Mirror, that can teleport you back to the spawn.
    – astryad
    Commented May 23, 2011 at 20:29
  • 3
    Wooden platforms are probably your best early game
    – Wipqozn
    Commented May 23, 2011 at 21:42
  • @Wipqozn - Agreed. The major advantage of platforms over blocks is that you can jump up "through" them and land on top (whereas with blocks, you'll just bump your head jumping straight up into them).
    – sjohnston
    Commented May 23, 2011 at 21:57
  • @sjohnston You can also dig to a side and then up into rock to create an air pocket. I will often do this when there are things of interest under the water so I have some where to go 'catch my breath' as it were.
    – James
    Commented May 24, 2011 at 3:27
  • @James: I just answered the same and then saw your comment. Sorry, didn't mean to steal your thunder.
    – Stu Pegg
    Commented May 24, 2011 at 17:43

Build a solid area around yourself with mud or dirt, make the ceiling 2-3 blocks high, then mine out an air pocket.

This is sort of like Stuart Pegg's answer above, but doesn't require a solid wall next to you.

 N  N
 N  N

D - dirt
N - new dirt you add
X - spots where you add dirt, then mine it away
T - mine this spot out and put a torch there, so you can see
  • +1 I've been digging breathing holes as per the accepted answer for forever, but it never occurred to me to build my own hole where I land
    – Kevin
    Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 10:24
  • 2
    I believe this no longer works, sadly, because when I've tried it recently I've found myself digging into water.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Oct 3, 2013 at 15:09

sjohnston has listed some great items, but if you lack those you can drop sand below you to try and get up.


This is going to be another air-pocket answer, but for a situation where the lake is particularly large, and no nearby wall is available.

If you have the misfortune of falling into the middle of a very large lake, break out your pickaxe and immediately dig yourself down. Be careful if the water starts to flow out, as that means you've hit the bottom of the lake and now need to either wait for it to drain, or very carefully fall out of it yourself, taking caution not to fall into something even worse.

If you dig down five tiles and still haven't hit another cave, immediately dig three tiles to the left/right (whichever one offers you a solid cave) until there's a space where you can stand under two tiles while still having one tile next to them. Dig the two tiles out from above you, careful to leave two tiles and the outer 'lip' intact, and start jumping. You'll slowly recover your air and can work on a better long-term survival/escape strategy.

Y = You
_ = Surface
D = Dirt
X = Area to dig


One of the simplest early game techniques that is available is carrying ropes or rope coils (made by crafting 10 ropes together). Simply place them and climb! Another alternative is to use platforms to make stairs. You can also put many platforms over the entire lake, so you don't have to worry about falling in in any longer.

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