We had never seen anything quite like Ashton Pienaar's overboard accident in the history of Below Deck and Below Deck Mediterranean. In this Below Deck Season 6 moment, a line wrapped around the deckhand's ankle, dragging him off the yacht and into the water. Thanks to three things miraculously happening in tandem, including Below Deck cameraman Brent Freeburg springing into action to drop his camera and loosen the line around Ashton's ankle, the deckhand's life was saved that day.
Even though the M/Y Seanna crew was able to avoid the worst possible outcome, the incident still had the usually reserved Captain Lee Rosbach in tears, even still to this day when he talks about it.
Below Deck Med's Captain Sandy Yawn said during Monday night's Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen After Show that she totally understands why. "My reaction was I knew exactly how Captain Lee felt. He probably wanted to drop to his knees, just the thought of killing someone. It wasn't his fault," Captain Sandy shared. "I think training, training, training, and when you have a new crew that you don't really get to train, it makes it harder. Our jobs are very difficult."
Captain Sandy then went on to recall a similar near-fatal accident she experienced in her career in the past when she almost started the boat's propellers while a crew member was underneath them to remove a caught line. Fortunately, the boat's engineer stopped Captain Sandy from starting the engines just in time. "And I just remember I felt like buckling to my knees because there's so much going [on]," she said. "We're rocking and rolling, he's on charter, it's scary."
Captain Lee said during the Below Deck Season 6 After Show that Ashton's overboard accident "still haunts me." "And I hope it never goes away. I don't want it to go away," Captain Lee said. "It keeps me on my toes, makes me a better person. In 35 years, nothing like that's ever happened to me, and you have to make sure that you do everything in your power to make sure it never happens again."
Ashton said during the Below Deck Season 6 reunion that the incident has similarly had a profound impact on his life. "It was a massive wake-up call. I think you get complacent, you start forgetting things on deck," he said. "It's a dangerous job we do, and I think it was just a massive wake-up call."
Watch Ashton open up more about what was going through his mind during this accident in the Below Deck Season 6 After Show, below.
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