Survivor’s Caleb Bankston killed in train derailment

Survivor Blood vs. Water cast member Caleb Bankston, the fiance of Colton Cumbie, was killed today in an accident where he worked. He was 26.

The AP reported this evening that “[o]fficials from a Kansas-based transportation company say a worker has died in an accident at the Alabama Warrior Railway in Birmingham.”

People confirmed that it was Caleb, noting that he “worked at the Alabama Warrior Railway in Birmingham” and that he “died when the train he was on derailed.”

No other details were available late Tuesday.

Update, June 25, 8:10 a.m. While Colton’s Twitter account is private, a quoted tweet says he wrote, “I just wish it was me….” Early Wednesday, Colton changed his Facebook profile photo to one of him riding on Caleb’s back. Last week, Caleb posted a screenshot on Facebook of a pedometer app with the caption, “My daily walk while at work…always wondered how much I walked working on the railroad.”

Update, June 25, 4:02 p.m. Cast member Sabrina Thompson said Colton and Caleb were getting married this fall. As to Caleb’s death, few details are available, but CNN reports Caleb was working on a coal train; he’d been a conductor for the past seven months.

Also, Jeff Probst said in a statement:

“The entire Survivor crew is together in Nicaragua. We are shocked and deeply saddened by the loss of Caleb. He was one of the most humble and likable contestants we’ve ever had the pleasure of working with on the show. A true gentleman. He will be missed by so many. We extend our most sincere condolences to his family and to his fiance, Colton.”

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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.