One of the most unexpected parts of the moment when Ashton Pienaar went overboard was the manner in which Rhylee Gerber alerted the rest of the Below Deck crew of the accident. The usually fiery Rhylee was somehow able to remain calm, cool, and collected as the incident unfolded.
Rhylee explained during an interview with The Daily Dish prior to the airing of the episode featuring Ashton's accident how she was able to maintain her composure during such a scary situation. "I know this is really, really stupid to think about, but I knew the guests were right there because we had just left port and when there is something insane going on, whether it’s fighting or something very serious, you don’t want to alert them. I think that was probably one really big thing keeping me calm because I was not calm, I was on the swim deck with [Ross Inia] and Ryan, our camera guy, and I was not calm inside," she said. "I was doing everything that wasn’t by the book that wasn’t what you’re supposed to do. 'By the book' is never exactly what the situation is, and that’s exactly what played out there. I don’t know what happened, I think it was mechanical, what was happening in me."
Ashton said during the same interview that he admired how the deck crew handled themselves during his accident. "I think everyone was kind of reacting, doing what they thought best in the moment. You can’t panic and become an emotional wreck in a moment like that because it’s not like it’s gonna help," he said. "I think they all realized the severity of the situation, knowing that I was on that line, and they acted professionally and just had to stay calm and come up with a solution as quick as they could. So being an emotional wreck was just not an option, I don’t think, for you guys at that point."
Rhylee's "man overboard" call over the radio was one of the reasons Ashton didn't lose his life, according to Ross. "That was one of the key moments that saved Ashton’s life when Rhylee said 'man overboard' because that alerted the captain, that alerted myself," Ross said during the interview with The Daily Dish. "I had no emotions at the start. I thought someone just went overboard so I was like, 'Oh, sweet, we’ll just go back and pick them up, all good.' And then once I came down to assess the situation and what was actually going on with him, I realized he was tangled in the line and that’s when I think adrenaline just takes over. You’re not even thinking. You practice all these drills, you go through all these different procedures, how to act best when it happens, but you don’t think. You’re just like, bam, and it happens."
Ross said that he had to take a moment to collect himself privately after Ashton got back to safety. "I don’t think everybody actually knew how severe it could have been. As soon as I got things situated, I went to my bathroom, closed the door, and I just had to calm myself down," he recalled. "Honestly, I remember walking back and I wanted to go home, I didn’t give a f--k what [Captain Lee Rosbach] was saying, I just didn’t care. I basically just walked to my room. I actually went up to the bridge, and I think I said something to Captain Lee, and it was kind of disrespectful to him because I was so angry, upset, I was going through all these different emotions. So I literally had to go to my room, I was in my room for about 10 minutes calming myself down because I knew how severe it could have been, and I don’t think most people actually knew how severe it was."
It wasn't until the end of the charter when Rhylee let herself feel all of the emotions that had built up throughout this ordeal. "I didn’t even really have that emotional breakdown, that cry about it until the end of charter when Captain Lee sat us all down to replay the footage to show us what happened," she shared. "It was hard to see. Really, really hard to see, because just like Ashton said is that it could have so gone way more devastatingly than it did. And luckily it didn’t, you know. And it was a collective effort from everybody."
Find out how the rest of the M/Y Seanna crew reacted to Ashton's accident in the Below Deck After Show, above. Watch the emotional experience back, below.