SAS Australia: Shannan Ponton's brush with death shocks fans

Gillian Wolski
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·3-min read

He’s used to pushing his body to the brink but on Tuesday night’s episode of SAS: Australia celebrity personal trainer Shannan Ponton almost met his limit.

The former Biggest Loser star suffered an extreme case of hypothermia during an extreme challenge on the gruelling TV show that saw him and his fellow recruits jump out of a helicopter into near-freezing water.

Shannan Ponton has had a terrifying brush with death on SAS: Australia. Photo: Channel 7.
Shannan Ponton has had a terrifying brush with death on SAS: Australia. Photo: Channel 7.

“With hypothermia and wind chill, the skin will literally fall off of your body,” warned one of SAS’s directing staff (DS).

After 20 minutes in the frigid sea, Shannan shouldered his heavy pack and ran the three-kilometre track to the top of a mountain where the DS ordered him to change out of his icy clothes into a dry set.

‘Should be dead’

By this stage, the 46-year-old was visibly struggling to dress due to his numb fingers and whole-body shakes leading chief instructor Ant Middleton to step in and help.

The show’s narrator appeared to suggest that Shannan’s age was a factor, saying, “One of the oldest recruits, Shannan, battles an ageing mind and body.”

Dazed and shivering, Shannan was bundled into a waiting truck and offered a cup of hot water by his co-star, actor Firass Dirani, but was unable to hold onto it.

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Shannan was barely able to hold a cup of hot water after 20 minutes in freezing seas. Photo: Channel 7.
Shannan was barely able to hold a cup of hot water after 20 minutes in freezing seas. Photo: Channel 7.

“Did I pass out?” he asked on the way back to camp, to which a slightly concerned Honey Badger responded, “Ahhh...no.”

Shannan, who was seen by a medic, compared the experience to a “massive bender”.

“I can’t remember getting to the end. I can’t remember what happened when we got to the end,” he said.

The DI staff hauled him in for a brutal interrogation, where they berated him for his performance and his blazé attitude to his near-death experience.

“You should be f**king dead, I don’t know why you’re laughing,” one DI bellowed.

“Your teammates would be in a sh*t state right now. You’d be dead right now.”

Fans were shocked by Shannan's treatment on the gruelling TV show. Photo: Channel 7.
Fans were shocked by Shannan's treatment on the gruelling TV show. Photo: Channel 7.

SAS fans slam star’s treatment

Over on Twitter, fans of the show were shocked and concerned with how Shannan was treated.

“Surprised they let Shannon continue on after getting hypothermia! Crazy they let them get to that stage in first place!” one remarked.

“Never thought I’d see a PT and a unit like Shannon suffer and struggle like that,” another added.

Others took issue with the narrator’s comment on Shannan’s age.

“Ageing mind?! Shannon is 46!!!” they exclaimed.

One fan was pleased to see the mateship between the celebrity recruits.

“It’s so great to see the teamwork and camaraderie with everyone helping each other out, especially with warming up Shannon,” they wrote.

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