Who Saved Ashton Pienaar’s Life on ‘Below Deck?’

Ashton Pienaar | Ashton Pienaar Instagram

Although Below Deck fans were irked from last week’s tease with the Man Overboard episode, they likely forgave Bravo when they finally found out what happened to deckhand Ashton Pienaar. For the last few months, viewers knew Pienaar was going overboard. He would be yanked under the water by a line attached to the tender. While audio captured his terrifying screams.

But what viewers didn’t know is how quickly he was saved. And how strong and brave he was during the accident. The trailer mercilessly teased fans for months on end. While both exterior and interior crew hustled to save Pienaar’s life, who ultimately saved Pienaar? And how exactly did Pienaar return to the deck?

Man overboard

Deckhand Rhylee Gerber tries to grab for him as Pienaar is helplessly dragged into the water from the swim deck. A line, which is connected to the tender behind the boat, is tightly wrapped around his ankle as it drags him under the water. This all occurs while the yacht is quickly surging forward.

Gerber calmly speaks into her radio, “Man overboard.”  Then viewers see second stew Josiah Carter repeat “Man overboard.” All crew rushes to the deck as Captain Lee Rosbach is on the bridge asking, “What!?”

The incident appeared to occur within a split second. After a few minutes under water, Pienaar’s head emerges but he seems to be drowning. Meanwhile, the guests catch the entire incident, sitting in the lounge area looking aghast.

This is who saves Pienaar

Josiah Carter and Brent Freeburg | Josiah Carter Twitter

In a shocking turn of events, it wasn’t a crew member who ultimately frees Pienaar from the line wrapped around his ankle. Although the maneuver occurs quickly, it is Bravo cameraman, Brent Freeburg who manages to ultimately save Pienaar’s life. Video shows Freeburg swiftly putting his camera on the ground. And unwraps the rope that has a death grip on Pienaar’s ankle. Freeburg tweets during the episode, “There were a few of us that came together in the very last moments possible, to do an urgent thing. Thankfully, we managed to get it done.”

Pienaar is then able to regain composure in the water. And even give the crew the thumbs up he is o.k. Thankfully he is in good enough shape to swim to the tender and climb aboard. He remains safely on the boat until the yacht anchors and he can return.

Pienaar says he was prepared to lose his foot

On Watch What Happens Live, Pienaar told host, Andy Cohen, he prepared to lost his foot while being dragged behind the ship. “At one point I laid back and I knew tension was taking control I had come to terms my foot was going to be ripped off at that moment,” he said. “So that was tough.”

In an interview with Decider Pienaar added, “Doing what we do, we become very complacent on the boat and I think the whole situation just shows you how bigger the job is than you.”

Pienaar told Cohen he could see it was Freeburg who untangled the line while he was still in the water. When Pienaar finally returned to the yacht he found Freeburg and, “I went up to him and grabbed him hugged him and said don’t know what to say to you,” he said. “I’m so grateful. The man saved my life.”

How is Pienaar’s foot?

Pienaar returns to My Seanna after an hour of being at sea and is clearly in pain. His foot appears to be intact but he lays in the crew bunk and applies ice. Eventually, a physician visits Pienaar (and of course he manages to flirt with her), who determines the foot is not broken but he needs to rest.

Today he’s recovered from the injury. “I’m good, I’m perfectly fine. I had restrictions in the movement of my ankle because obviously there was a lot of scar tissue buildup in the joints, but I think I’m back to 100 percent. The mobility in my ankle is back to 100 percent,” Pienaar told Bravo. “Emotionally, I think I’ve dealt with it. I don’t feel like the situation haunts me or anything like that. I think I’ve kind of looked at the situation from more angles and I’m just more appreciative of the outcome of it. I’m good. Physically, I’m good, mentally, I’m good.”

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