For the first time ever, a Survivor cast had to be evacuated during filming due to severe weather.
Earlier this year, the country of Fiji was hit by severe tropical storms, including Cyclone Winston, which in February, ravaged through many islands and killed 44 people. The damage caused by the cyclone led to a delay in production for Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X which was due to begin filming in March.
In June, former Survivor winner, John Cochran, appeared on the Jenna and Julien podcast and confirmed that the storms were so bad in Fiji that they destroyed the entire tribal council set. “There was like a cyclone, or big tsunami thing just before they went out there, and all the tribal council was destroyed, challenges were destroyed – they had to scramble in two weeks to rebuild everything,” Cochran explained.
Filming started April 5, but just two days into the game, on April 6, Fiji was hit by another tropical storm, Cyclone Zena. Host Jeff Probst revealed to Entertainment Weekly, that due to the severity of the storm it meant that for the first time in Survivor history, production was forced to evacuate the cast for their personal safety.
Speaking to EW reporter Dalton Ross, Probst said, “It was only day two and in a matter of hours, a nice afternoon turned into a severe rainstorm that kept growing in intensity by the hour. We were monitoring the weather minute by minute back at base camp. When the national Fijian weather service upgraded it to a cyclone, we had to evacuate both tribes from their beaches and get them to safety. We have never had to evacuate tribes in 32 seasons of Survivor.”
The chaotic evacuation scenes will air in the 90-minute season premiere of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X on Wednesday, September 21 at 8:00 pm on CBS.