'Bachelorette' Contestant Dies After Paragliding Accident
A Bachelorette contestant has died following a paragliding accident over the weekend.
Eric Hill -- who recently filmed the upcoming season of ABC's reality show -- suffered critical injuries on Sunday afternoon after his parachute collapsed, KUTV in Salt Lake City reported, citing Unified Fire Authority battalion chief Brian Anderton. Hill, 32, went into a coma and was taken to a hospital.
The incident, which occurred near Point of the Mountain in Draper, Utah, was not a part of filming the ABC reality series but happened after he reportedly had already been eliminated from the series. (The upcoming season is still in production.)
Hill's sister, Karen Tracy, posted on Facebook early Wednesday that he had died: "Eric shared his final journey with us this morning as all his immediate family were able to be at his side when he passed away. Thank you to all of your love and support and prayers and fasting. It was amazing to be with so many of his friends and family yesterday in the hospital who came to express their love for Eric. He gave us such a gift of a life fully lived and fully shared, and allowed us all to be a part of his last adventure here on earth. It is hard to think of life without his bright spark, but we know he is on to new adventures. We look forward to carrying on his legacy here and greeting him joyfully again someday. I love you so much, little brother!"
The producers of the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise issued a statement Wednesday afternoon: “We are deeply saddened to hear about the tragic passing of our friend, Eric Hill. Eric inspired us every day with his passion, his courage and his adventurous spirit, and for that we are very thankful. On behalf of our cast, crew and producers, we send our love, our thoughts and our prayers to Eric’s family during this difficult time.”
Series host Chris Harrison also tweeted about Hill on Wednesday:
On behalf of all of us at The Bachelor our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Eric Hill. He will be missed— Chris Harrison (@chrisbharrison) April 23, 2014
After his accident, Hill was found unconscious but breathing 100 to 150 feet up the mountain.
"He experienced a partial parachute collapse, which swung him into the mountainside with some velocity," Anderton told KUTV. "It doesn't seem like he fell an extremely long distance, but the velocity that he went into the hillside was enough to cause some trauma."
According to Hill's website, he was filming a documentary titled The Global Odyssey, which chronicles his attempt to visit all 195 U.N.-recognized countries in world record time. The movie's Facebook page has a post about the accident:
"Friends: Eric has been in a horrible paragliding accident and is currently in critical condition in a coma. Things are not looking good right now...please, all across the world, even if you're not a praying person, please pray for him. He needs your prayers more than ever."
The upcoming season of The Bachelorette -- the show's 10th -- stars Andi Dorfman, who memorably dumped previous Bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis during his season.) It's set to debut at 9 p.m. on Monday, May 19. Following its premiere, the show will move to its regular time slot of 8-10 p.m. on Mondays.
While ABC has not announced the competitors for the upcoming season, a recent post on the Global Odyssey website alluded to Hill's involvement:
"Don't worry friends, Eric will be posting again soon! He is off on a different kind of adventure (some of you may have already heard) for another month. There is plenty of unseen footage and pictures that we'll be releasing until his return! Stay tuned!! -The Team"
The Bachelorette is a production of Next Entertainment in association with Warner Horizon Television. Mike Fleiss, Martin Hilton and Alycia Rossiter are the executive producers.
It's unclear at this point how the show will address Hill's tragedy once the season starts airing. The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to ABC and Warner Horizon for comment.