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Former Survivor competitor Caleb Bankston has died after the train he was on derailed, according to multiple reports.
The 26-year-old worked as a locomotive engineer/conductor on the Alabama Warrior Railway in Birmingham, Ala., and was working at the time of his death Tuesday. It’s unclear what caused the accident.
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Bankston competed last year on Survivor: Blood vs. Water alongside his fiancé, Colton Cumbie. While returning player Cumbie made some enemies in both appearances on the show, Bankston was well-liked by his fellow competitors and fans as well.
Survivor host and executive producer Jeff Probst issued a statement Wednesday while on location shooting the upcoming season of the CBS reality competition.
“The entire Survivor crew is together in Nicaragua,” said. “We are shocked and deeply saddened by the loss of Caleb. He was one of the most humble and likable contestants we’ve ever had the pleasure of working with on the show. A true gentleman. He will be missed by so many. We extend our most sincere condolences to his family and to his fiancé, Colton.”
Bankston’s fellow competitor Aras Baskauskas tweeted: “Caleb was an amazing man and friend. One of the sweetest and most sincere humans I’ve ever come across.”
Added former contestant Rob Cesternino, who now has a reality TV podcast: “Turns out there’s some very sad news in the #Survivor family tonight: Rest in Peace Caleb Bankston.”
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Bankston made it to day 30, or ninth place, before being voted out and becoming a member of the jury. Cumbie had quit the show earlier in the season.
In December, Bankson told The Hollywood Reporter he was looking forward to marrying Cumbie in a ceremony planned for Oct. 11 in Connecticut.
“I’m really excited about it,” he said. “We like the New England coastline, and the leaves are pretty, and fall is our favorite time of the year. It’s a country place, so it fits my taste, but it’s upscale enough that it fits his too.”
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