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'It could've been even more dramatic': Survivor's Sam on show's harrowing moment

It was one of Survivor's more unexpected moments – contestant Samantha Gash letting out a bloodcurdling scream as she was suddenly dragged away in a strong Samoan rip.

Sam, 32, describes the moment as "dramatic".

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"I'm an okay swimmer, but I fell off the coral bed that was keeping me up and all of a sudden the tides pulled me through," she recalls.

"I had a moment where I was like, 'I could scream for help and get this over quickly, or I could try and rescue myself and maybe not make it 'cause I don't have much energy...'

"I called out to the boys [Luke and Mark] so quietly... Their reaction was pretty dramatic, but it could've been even more dramatic.

"I'm an adventure racer so I was quite cool, calm and collected. But I was very happy to have them there," she says.


The moment offered TV viewers a peek into the reality show's often forgotten behind-the-scenes dangers.

"Obviously there are camera crews all around, but it's something I learned quickly - the weather conditions are wild, and no one's gonna come and put a jacket around you when you're cold," says Sam.

The endurance athlete from Victoria became the sixth person voted off the show on Sunday night, following an intense tribal council that saw her teammates busting her cuddly alliance with ex-SAS troop commander Mark Wales.  

Sam and Mark, 37, had become a close pair during their time on the island – and, if the show's cutting's to be believed, a romantic one.

"No!" she counters. "No, no, no. Your mind does not allow for romance when you're out there; you're just there to play.

"We get on well and... yep, we get on well," she stops abruptly when pushed on the pair's off-screen relationship since shooting wrapped.

I had a moment where I was like, 'I could scream for help and get this over quickly, or I could try and rescue myself and maybe not make it...'

In hindsight, she says, it's obvious the two, both strong physical competitors, were targeted at tribal council.

"You have to trust someone out there – not just because you want to work with them, but for your mental health, it's just nice to have a moment where you're not playing so aggressively.

"But I can definitely see why Henry, for example, would want to get us out."

Henry, the Asaga tribe's Machiavellian fake yoga instructor, had orchestrated the split, urging teammates to say they were voting for Michelle and Ben, while secretly gunning for Sam.

Sam, who was sent packing after Henry deliberately sabotaged the team's immunity challenge, has come to terms with his ballsy power play.

"Good on him, he achieved what he wanted to do. It's a very bold move to throw a challenge," she says with a laugh.

She also says she didn't trust the guy from "day one".

"I practice a lot of yoga and one of my best friends is a yoga teacher, and one of the first things I did when I got off the show is ask my friend, 'Do you know any yoga teachers in Adelaide named Henry?'

"I did my research and I couldn't find him anywhere, so I was convinced he was full of it."

Despite the bitter blindside, she's surprisingly conciliatory towards her teammates, hedging her bets on a Luke or Jericho win.

"I love stories of transformation, so Jericho and Luke, even though I now know they were gunning for me, I really believe they'd be great recipients of the $500,000 prize and it'd be amazing for their lives. I have a soft-spot for those guys."