Survivor contestant Caleb Bankston died earlier this week when a train he was on derailed in the Birmingham, Alabama area according to People.
Bankston is known for his appearance on Survivor: Blood vs Water in 2013. That season featured returning contestants from previous seasons and “loved ones” that were connected to them. The loved ones and the returning contestants would initially compete on opposite tribes before the tribes were combined in what fans of the franchise know as “the merge”. The concept was so popular that the upcoming season of the show will follow the same theme.
Bankston was a part of the new group on his season. His fiancee, Colton Cumbie, was a returning contestant. Cumbie had appeared previously on the show during the Survivor: One World season. He would leave that season with an apparent medical condition, self evicting from the competition. It would come to light during Blood vs Water that he self evicted due to being “too emotional for Survivor” and felt he had matured enough to compete again alongside Bankston.
That turned out not to be true and Cumbie would once again self evict, drawing the ire of host Jeff Probst and fans around the world. His removal from the show allowed fans to get to know Bankston a bit better.
The result was a remarkable contrast to Cumbie’s reputation. Bankston was easy to like, genuine and engaging. Contestants and fans found a person they genuinely enjoyed. They also consistently questioned how someone so likable could be with someone that was seen as so vile. Bankston would be the 14th person voted out in his season and would serve as the 3rd member of the jury.
The couple were due to be married later this year. While reports about the train derailment and the details surrounding it are sparse at this point, it has been confirmed that the railroad employee who lost his life in the accident was, in fact, Caleb Bankston.
Bankston joins Jenn Lyon of Survivor: Palau and BB Anderson of the initial Survivor season as former contestants that have passed away.
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