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Tsunami kills people in Samoa near Survivor locations, but remaining crew is safe

A tsunami caused by an offshore earthquake hit Samoa and killed an unknown number of people in the areas near where Survivor filmed its 19th and 20th seasons, but remaining crew members are safe.

Filming had already concluded on Survivor Samoa, which taped earlier this summer, and Survivor 20, which was filmed soon after 19 finished and was scheduled to wrap up before Sept. 20, according to a letter to Richard Hatch asking him to participate. Filming obviously ended before then, though, considering that Jeff Probst was at the Emmys Sept. 20, and some crew members arrived home that weekend. The few who are still there are “doing fine,” a CBS rep told Josef Adalian. And CBS posted on Facebook that “the cast and crew of Survivor has not been affected by the earthquake.”

The southwestern coast was the location for tribe beaches and challenges, and “the south coast of Upolu island suffered heavy damage and some deaths,” the manager of the Salani Surf Resort wrote on Twitter. He also said that the resort, which is located on the south side of Upolu very close to the resort that served as Ponderosa, “has been totally destroyed, but the guests and staff were evacuated just in time.”

The New Zealand Herald reports that “unconfirmed reports that 40 people from the Samoan village of Lalomanu — on the south-eastern end of the island of Upolu — have been killed.” That is also near Ponderosa, although further to the east.

NBC News reported that the “powerful 8.0 magnitude earthquake generated Pacific tsunami on Wednesday, killing an unknown number of people in the Samoa islands and sending others fleeing for higher ground.” The “tsunami was observed at Apia, Samoa,” the capital of independent Samoa that’s located on the island of Upolu, where the show was filmed.

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.


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