Survivor crew member drowns while swimming

A Survivor crew member drowned recently in Brazil while working on a future season.

Alton Desiree, 38, was part of an “advance team for a future production,” according to a CBS statement. He “drowned in the Rio Novo River in a remote section of Brazil” where he “was swimming during his lunch break with other members of his team when the accident occurred,” CBS said.

He’d worked on the show during the past three seasons (Gabon, Micronesia, and China), and lived in Loubiere, Dominica, with his wife and two kids. According to one early news report, he left home for Brazil on Sept. 9 and died Sept. 15, but it also suggests he died after being “instructed to go underwater to fix something of the show.”

The first Survivor Gabon episode ended with a title card dedicating the episode to his memory. In CBS’ statement, Jeff Probst said,

“Words cannot describe the shock and grief felt by all of us on the show. Alton has been with us on the last three editions of ‘Survivor.’ He always had a signature big smile, possessed an infectious warm spirit and was very popular with his fellow crew members. You can’t possibly describe a harder-working and more well-liked colleague. Our heartfelt prayers and sympathies are extended to his wife, children and family for this terrible loss.”

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.