Survivor contestant exits after freak accident


WARNING: Disturbing footage.

A CONTESTANT on the current season of US Survivor has exited the show in the most dramatic circumstances, airlifted to hospital after a terrifying freak accident in the very first episode.

The 37th season of US Survivor debuted in the US and Australia yesterday, pitting two tribes against each other - the underdog "Davids" and high-achieving "Goliaths".

By episode's end, one contestant from the David team, 40-year-old property manager Pat Cusack, would be stretchered out via helicopter, his teammates left sobbing at the distressing medical emergency that had unfolded before them.

Contestant Pat is helped by the show’s medical unit as his teammates look on.
Contestant Pat is helped by the show’s medical unit as his teammates look on.

Oddly, Cusack's accident was not caught on camera. It happened after the teams had completed a challenge at sea, and hopped into small speedboats for a routine boat ride back to camp.

It's the sort of short boat journey contestants on the show have completed hundreds of times before, without incident.

But as Survivor returned from a mid-episode commercial break last night - camera crews waiting on the beach as the contestants' boat arrived - it was clear something had gone horribly wrong.

Cusack was carried onto the beach via stretcher, convulsing and barely conscious.

He had suffered a back injury, the result of a hard landing as the boat went over the crest of a wave.


Pat begs to stay in the game.
Pat begs to stay in the game.

What followed was perhaps one of the most intense medical emergencies in Survivor history, as Cusack railed what was clear to all: He needed to be disqualified from the competition immediately to seek medical treatment.

"It can't end this way," he moaned. "I can't go out this way!"

Survivor host Jeff Probst rushed to the scene, as the show's doctors confirmed they had "no choice" but to rush Cusack to hospital.


The other contestants are shocked at what’s unfolding.
The other contestants are shocked at what’s unfolding.


"I have no recollection from the time the accident happened until I woke up on the helicopter at the hospital," Cusack told ET this week, after having watched the episode.

"I knew it was scary, but I didn't know how scary it was. And to just see how it was, with the convulsing and my eyes rolling back, and snot coming out of my nose, it was definitely very, very emotional to see."

Cusack suffered no permanent damage from the accident, which had compressed his spine and "deteriorated the bursa sac between my second and third vertebrae," he revealed.

In another interview with Entertainment Weekly, Cusack laid out the order of events as he remembered them. The boat's captain had warned the team there would be rough seas.

"From what I was told from other castaways, we hit a big wave and we landed back in the water, and I woke up in a helicopter."

"We went up on the wave, and came back down, and myself and (contestant) Carl - he smacked his head and I compressed my spine."

Survivor fans watching the episode were stunned as the confronting scene unfolded:






US Survivor: David vs Goliath airs locally on NineGo! 8:30pm Thursdays.