Miraculously he survived for 24 hours in ‘the dead zone’ which should have shut down his life support system, while I was left hanging on my couch during the ABC’s Miracle on Everest. I don’t know how either of us survived.
This week I spent 72 TV hours frozen in the Andes Mountains in Chile, after crashing in a plane with my football buddies. It was absolute hell. By day two I was freezing, foetal and desperately hungry. For a while there, I considered eating a soccer ball, except Pedro looked a lot more tasty. I didn’t know how long it was going to be before I was rescued by my family back in Uruguay, or by a commercial break.
Television likes to play around with ‘cliffhangers’ but in this case it was the real deal. One step in the wrong direction and you could fall into an abyss, never to see your remote control again. Raoul found a block of chocolate on the second day, which we rationed to one square per person per day. One square! I can go through half a block during Brothers and Sisters and that’s before Sally Field cries.
We all waited to be rescued. SBS sent out a few commercial breaks but they didn’t see us. One by one we started to lose faith. Would we ever see Sandra Sully again? We’d never know if Anna Coren stayed with Today Tonight. We’d never hear Nelson Aspen’s Hollywood gossip ever again.
Finally Eduardo and I decided to do the unthinkable. I gathered up a few supplies, said goodbye to my buddies and got UP OFF THE COUCH. Dammit – I was going to do it for the team. We trekked for days, in the hope that if we could just make it beyond the next peak Ethan Hawke would play one of us in a movie.
And, after ten days wandering, we reached the first signs of life: an old Chilean cattle farmer who looked like the Off Button. I fell into his arms and pressed him once. Everything went black.
Stranded was far too real, too scary. I’m now recovering nicely being drip-fed repeats of Two and a Half Men. It’s nowhere near as taxing.
Stranded: The Andes Plane Crash Survivors airs 9:30pm Sunday on SBS.