There have been a lot of close calls over the years on the U.S. version of Survivor. But thankfully, no one has ever died while filming. Tragically, the same cannot be said for the international versions of the show where several contestants have died during filming. Here’s what you need to know about what happened in these incidents.
A French ‘Survivor’ Contestant Had A Heart Attack While Filming
In 2013, a man named Gerald Babin, who was only 25 at the time, died during the first day of filming on the French version of Survivor in Koh Rong, which is off Cambodia’s southwest coast, reported The Hollywood Reporter.
THR also said that authorities opened an investigation into his death because when Babin initially collapsed, he was diagnosed with dehydration and treated at the local infirmary. Accusations were later made via Closer magazine that Babi was only airlifted to a nearby hospital two hours later and it was during this transfer that he suffered a series of cardiac arrests. The magazine’s source said Babin was not treated immediately so as not to interfere with filming and that he was not flown to a hospital at first because it was too expensive. The official cause of death was listed as “heart failure in dilated cardiomyopathy,” which THR reported indicated Babin had an undetected pre-existing condition.
A few weeks after Babin’s death, the show’s staff physician, Thierry Costa, committed suicide following the accusations that Babin’s treatment was delayed so as not to interfere with filming. In his suicide note, he said the accusations were false. Host Denis Brogniart and Adventure Line Productions also denied those allegations and said Babin was given immediate medical treatment. Brogniart also said that the production had nothing to do with his death.
The season of Survivor that was to have featured Babin was canceled after his death.
A Bulgarian ‘Survivor’ Contestant Died of a Heart Attack Too
In 2009, a 53-year-old man named Moncho Vodnicharov collapsed while filming the Bulgarian version of the show in the central Philippines. He later died at the hospital and the death was ruled a heart attack.
The CBC reported that he died after completing a challenge, but it was unknown what kind of challenge the contestants were competing in at the time. The CBC also said that Vodnicharov was the mayor of southern Bulgarian town Radnevo.
A Pakistani ‘Survivor’ Contestant Drowned While Filming
Also in 2009, a contestant on the Pakistani version of the show drowned while competing in a swimming challenge, reported The Hollywood Reporter.
Saad Khan, 32, was swimming across a lake while wearing a 15-pound backpack. He cried out for help and went under the water. The crew and fellow contestants rushed to save him but could not find him in the dark lake waters. Divers later recovered his body.
The death happened during the show’s 10th episode, but it was not reported publicly until his body had been flown home to Pakistan.
Survivor hopes to film season 41 in the spring of 2021 for a fall 2021 premiere.
READ NEXT: U.S. Survivor Contestants Who Have Died