Alone Australia star's near-death experience while filming: 'Enormous pain'

EXCLUSIVE: Alone Australia's Mike spills all about his experience to Yahoo Lifestyle.

Alone Australia star Mike, 61, was medically evacuated from the show after just one day, with the former rugby player suffering from severe chest pain on the first night.

For those who have never watched the show, contestants are placed in different areas to live off the land, totally alone for as long as they can. Last season's winner, Gina Chick, lasted 67 days.

Alone Australia star Mike gets medical attention
Alone Australia star Mike thought he was going to die on his first day in the competition and was medically evacuated. Photo: SBS

Being totally alone certainly makes things difficult if there is a medical emergency, though contestants do have a satellite phone to call for help if they need it.

The first episode of the new season, filmed in New Zealand's South Island this year, saw fans on the edge of their seats as Mike began complaining of chest pain. It was finally revealed on Wednesday night that he had to be taken out of the competition.


"At my age, whenever you think about chest pain, you can’t help but think it might be something drastic. What is my limit – have I reached my limit? That’s why I made the call," he said as he was being evacuated.

Mike quickly became emotional after the medic assured him that his test results looked good.

"I’m so tired… I was so scared. I thought I was going to die. I really thought I was going to die," he said as he began tearing up.

'So, so painful'

Speaking to Yahoo Lifestyle, Mike explained that contestants can check in with producers to let them know that they are safe every day, and that day, he had sent the message saying he'd had a "nine out of 10" day.

Alone Australia's Mike
Mike was the oldest participant on the show. Photo: SBS

However, it wasn't long after that he began experiencing chest pains, which disappeared after 10 minutes. Less than an hour later, the pain returned "with greater intensity".

"I've never experienced something like this before," he tells us, adding that the third time the pain came back, it was 'quite intense'.

"I was sitting bolt upright, squeezing my chest and feeling enormous pain," Mike shares. "It dissipated again, I lay down, but at that stage it was more, 'Well, if I'm having a heart attack, I won't see my kids again.'"

"Anxiety kicked in as well, so you put on top the fact that you've never experienced it, you put on the anxiety factor, and the next one I had was enormous, it was so, so painful," he adds.

"I was so scared," the reality star continues, revealing it was emotional just thinking about the moment.

Mike also explains that producers are tracking you via GPS constantly, which he says is very reassuring, but he adds that if you check in and say you've had a great day, then anything could have happened overnight.

"It's a long period of time where there's nothing happening, and because the GPS wouldn't have moved, they would have thought, 'Oh, he's asleep,' well he actually could have been not alive. So that was quite confronting for me after the show thinking, wow, what would have or what could have happened," he says.

'I'm fine'

After several tests, Mike was given the all-clear by the doctors, who said his heart was very healthy and like that of someone in his 40s.

It turns out Mike was experiencing painful reflux, and after taking a "potent" antacid, it went away.


"The doctors had put it down to the fact I bulked up over Christmas," he explains. "I went from 95 kilos to 108 in about six weeks, so put on 13kg of body weight, and going from eating copious amounts and then going onto the land and eating literally nothing messed up my metabolism.

"And when I laid down, there was a build-up of the acid, which then presented in a way in my upper chest, and then that's what gave the pain to what we thought was a potential heart attack.

"So, guess what? I'm fine!"

Watch Alone Australia on Wednesdays at 7:30pm on SBS or stream it on SBS on Demand.

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