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Survival expert Bear Grylls talks about near death experiences and the worst food he’s ever eaten

ADVENTURER Edward Michael Grylls, (Bear Grylls), is back with a new show, Escape from Hell, on Discovery Channel. Known for his Man vs Wild series, Grylls shares survival tips and food nightmares:

Worst lessons learnt after many years of being a survival expert…
Survival is gritty, muddy, and it often stinks. Please remember what’s first: protection, rescue, water, food. If you’re going into the wild, it is vital to be prepared. Travel with good friends you trust and like. Have a back-up plan. Have some form of communication, whether mobile phone or sat phone, if there is no coverage. Finally, always pack a sense of humour.

Which group of survivors did you find most interesting and why?
One story that stands out for me is a guy called Eric LeMarque, a former ice hockey player whose life had spiralled out of control because of drugs. He got lost snowboarding in the Sierra Nevada and spent eight days in the frozen wilderness. He was super lucky to get found, though it cost him both his feet because of frostbite. He had a real life-turning moment when he ditched his crystal meth so he could use the bag to carry water. That was a turning point for him. It gave him the determination to pick up his life and start again.
Some adventures when you thought you were close to death?
In the series, I got into a sticky situation in a rapid, getting caught in a submerged tree. But in the past there have been many times where I thought I might die—whether close calls with nasty snakes, sharks and salt water crocodiles. I also broke my back in a free fall parachuting accident while serving with 21 SAS and was told I wouldn’t walk again…one of the hardest times in my life.

Worst food you’ve had to eat in a do or die situation?
There’s a long list of bad things I’ve tried, from camel intestinal fluids to bear poo to eyeballs. But the worst thing was raw goat’s testicles. Never again.

How do you recuperate after a stint of extreme adventure?
The light relief is always at the end. The crew works amazingly hard and we always have a great party at the end, even if it is in a remote bar in the Guatemalan jungle, having a beer in your underpants because you are sweating in the humidity.

Escape from Hell is on Discovery Channel, weekdays at 9 pm

— Sumitra Nair

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