C’est dommage doesn’t even begin to describe the feelings that the cast and crew of the French version of Survivor must be feeling after last week’s travesty during the show’s filming.
Twenty-five year old Gerald Babin had a heart attack during the show’s tug-of-war challenge in Cambodia on Friday, where the show had just kicked off filming on Koh-Lanta‘s 16th season.
Babin was airlifted to a local hospital, but it was too late. Channel TF1 and production company Adventure Line Productions released a joint statement confirming that the remainder of the season has been cancelled, and all of the remaining contestants are being flown back to France.
“[We are] devastated and join in the profound sadness of Gerald’s family,” the statement reads. “All of [our] thoughts are with his parents, his sister, his girlfriend and all those close to him.”
The future of the show going forward is unclear, as are the weather and challenge conditions at the time of Babin’s cardiac arrest, or the subsequent ones he suffered during the transfer to the hospital. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he began complaining of chest cramps after the contestants jumped from a boat and began the challenge. He was also treated by the show’s staff doctor on-scene.
As is protocol with most shows such as this, Babin was given a complete medical examination before he began Koh-Lanta, one of France’s highest-rated programs. His family has been flown to Cambodia to recover the body.
Koh-Lanta began in 2001 and is hosted by Denis Broginart. To date, 12 regular seasons and three special seasons have aired.