One of the most intense survival shows on TV is Naked and Afraid — considering there really is nothing more scary than being tasked with fending for yourself in wildlife while butt naked. Contestants are in the buff and don't have food, water, or shelter. It's a vulnerable position to be in, and there have been many moments viewers thought certain cast members were done for. Which makes use wonder: Has anyone ever died in Naked and Afraid? We looked into it.
Has anyone died in 'Naked and Afraid'?
To this date, nobody has ever died on Naked and Afraid, but there have been several close calls and at least one faked death. In the first season, Manu Toigo caught dengue fever, for starters. Not to mention, Samantha Ohl from Season 8 got hypothermia. And before the show even premiered, a producer got bitten by a poisonous snake. Plus, Honora Bowen pretended to go catatonic so that she had an excuse to leave the show.
Here are details on each case.
Manu Toigo caught dengue fever, but made a full recovery.
Manu Toigo did get so ill with dengue fever, that she suffered from a hemorrhagic fever. She was filming in Panama and came back home to Los Angeles after the show wrapped. That's when she discovered she caught dengue fever (she was bitten by a mosquito) and started to have severe headaches and nosebleeds. Luckily, she made a full recovery.
Samantha Ohl nearly died from hypothermia on 'Naked and Afraid'.
In Season 8, Samantha almost died because she didn't want to share body heat with her partner during a rainstorm, so her body temperature dropped so low, she developed hypothermia. It also didn't help that she was extremely hungry. Her partner ended up calling medical professionals, who were actually worried her organs might fail (she had stage 2 hypothermia). Luckily, she made a full recovery in the hospital. To this day, Samantha regrets not finishing the challenge.
'Naked and Afraid' Producer Steve Rankin was bitten by a snake in 2013.
In 2013, perhaps the most dangerous event ever occurred on Naked and Afraid, and the show technically hadn't even started yet. Producer Steve Rankin was checking out the premises in Costa Rica before the season started and was bitten by a pit viper. He suffered from a rotted foot, but was quickly rushed to the hospital before the venom could spread. He made a full recovery.
Honora Bowen's faked her death on 'Naked and Afraid'.
In Season 3, contestant Honora Bowen reportedly almost died — but it was later revealed she pretended to pass out so that she could leave the show. She had apparently asked to leave the show due to her bladder issues, but the producer convinced her to keep going. Honora ended up faking going into a catatonic state so she'd get sent to the hospital. According to Honora, her blood pressure was low and she felt like she was going to collapse. Basically, it wasn't hard to fake her death.
The show takes extra precautions and has (fully clothed) medics on set just in case anything happens. So thankfully no one has died while filming (or producing) the extreme reality show. However, a former contestant from Naked and Afraid died in 2022, although she was not filming at the time.
Melanie Rauscher died after filming 'Naked and Afraid'.
Naked and Afraid and Naked and Afraid XL alum Melanie Rauscher tragically passed away in 2022, although she was not filming at the time, having last appeared on the show in 2015.
The 35-year-old died in Arizona after inhaling a lethal amount of compressed air, per TMZ.
Per her autopsy, Melanie's cause of death was difluoroethane toxicity, which is known more commonly as huffing. Her former fellow contestant Jeremy McCaa paid tribute to Melanie at the time of her passing, writing on Facebook in part, "She was a beast of a woman that couldn’t be tamed and thought outside of the box."