Discovery’s newest survival series Survive the Raft aired its first episode last night (July 30), and it has already proven the extremes that its contestants will go to in order to go home with its $250,000 grand prize.
The debut episode, “This Isn’t a Game,” introduced viewers to the “9 strangers forced to survive” as they “sleep together, eat together, and work together” on a raft, and who are all “radically different” from one another, as explained in the series’ teaser trailer.
Contestant and rabbi Jonathan Dade suffered the consequences of the high-stakes survival series, as he had a seizure after being out in the heat all day while fishing, per Yahoo! Entertainment. His fellow contestants came to his aid by calling a medic and ensuring that the 38-year-old laid on his side.
According to TV Insider, Dade hailed from Georgetown, Texas, and previously served as a naval officer.
After Dade was taken for further examination, host Nate Boyer broke the news that he would not be returning.
The inspiration for the wild new show comes from a 1973 social experiment conducted by anthropologist Santiago Genovés. In order to attempt to solve world violence, he recruited 11 individuals of different races and religions to ride aboard the Acali, a raft that sailed the Atlantic Ocean for 101 days, which ultimately became known as the “Sex Raft” in the press, per The Guardian. He deemed the endeavor the “Peace Project.”
As noted in Survive the Raft‘s teaser trailer, “the trip descended into chaos,” with the crew eventually rebelling against Genovés.
The social experiment also inspired the 2018 documentary The Raft, (available to rent or purchase on Prime Video and Apple TV), which featured footage from the journey and interviews with some of the surviving crew members. Marcus Lindeen, the creator of the documentary, described crafting the film as a “really crazy project.”