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I’m A Celebrity has raised concerns over the safety of the programme after Joey Essex required emergency assistance during Wednesday’s episode of the Australian version of the gruelling reality show.
The former TOWIE star, 31, began to run out of oxygen and became disoriented in freezing cold water while trying to collect stars for his camp mates during a terrifying tank challenge.
It is the second emergency situation in two months for the show, after Richard Madeley was rushed to hospital in the early hours of the morning on the 2021 UK version of I’m A Celebrity.
Terrifying: I’m A Celebrity has raised concerns over the safety of the programme after Joey Essex required emergency assistance during Wednesday’s episode of the Australian version of the gruelling reality show
Joey needed emergency assistance during a daring challenge that almost turned deadly when he was tasked with swimming through freezing cold water, which was covered with plexiglass and dotted with strategically placed holes.
After locating each hole, Joey had to emerge from the water and reach into an ‘ice block’ filled with a variety of terrifying creatures to retrieve gold stars.
Having reached the end of the course, he was then given 20 seconds to swim back to the start, where the show’s hosts, Chris Brown and Julia Morris stood.
But as he swam back to the start of the course, Joey began to run out of oxygen and became disoriented in the freezing cold water.
Watching on from dry land, a panicked Julia, 53, called for an emergency diver to intervene and help Joey before he drowned.
Oh no! It is the second emergency situation in two months for the show, after Richard Madeley was rushed to hospital in the early hours of the morning on the 2021 UK version of I’m A Celebrity
Death-defying challenge: Joey was tasked with swimming through freezing cold water, which was covered with plexiglass and dotted with strategically placed holes
Struggling: As he swam back to the start of the course, Joey began to run out of oxygen and became disorientated in the freezing cold water
‘Oh my God. I’m gonna panic. Can we get the diver?’ asked an unusually serious Julia as she attempted to attract someone’s attention off-camera.
A scuba diver then suddenly appeared, and helped Joey locate a hole so that he could get some much needed air into his lungs.
The Only Way Is Essex star then made his way to the ladder and exited the pool after a horrifying few seconds underwater.
Freaking out: Watching on from dry land, a panicked Julia Morris (pictured with Chris Brown) called for an emergency diver to intervene and help Joey before he drowned
Helping hand: A scuba diver then suddenly appeared, and helped Joey locate a hole so that he could get some much needed air into his lungs
‘That was intense. I couldn’t find the hole. The goggles got the water in them. And it’s hard… You couldn’t… It was hard to find the holes,’ stammered Joey.
The clearly shaken star later admitted that he thought he was ‘getting hypothermia’ in the frigid water.
‘There was [sic] a few times that I was panicking hard underwater. I couldn’t breathe,’ he confessed.
MailOnline have contacted representatives for further comment.
The scary incident will no doubt raise questions over the safety of the programme, as celebrities regularly take part in frightening challenges to win food for camp.
‘That was intense. I couldn’t find the hole. The goggles got the water in them. And it’s hard… You couldn’t… It was hard to find the holes,’ stammered Joey
As well as the tasks celebrities must complete, the current UK version of the show sees contestants leaving in demanding conditions in a Welsh castle
It was a major blow to the show as one of their top signings, the broadcaster, 65, who was paid an estimated £200,000, was taken ill hours after participating in a gruelling trial and complaining about the castle’s freezing temperatures.
In a statement Richard, who was treated at Glan Clwyd Hospital in Rhyl, confirmed he had to quit the series after breaking the show’s ‘Covid bubble.’
Richard’s daughter Chloe, 34, revealed that her father was ‘livid’ he can’t go back into the I’m A Celebrity camp after his shock hospital dash.
‘Unforgettable’: Richard was forced to leave the show after being rushed to hospital with an unknown medical condition, after suffering a ‘funny turn’ in the night
Richard said: ‘Hello all! Richard here – firstly just to say that I’m absolutely FINE. I started to feel briefly unwell in the small hours of the morning and was taken to hospital as a precaution.
‘By leaving the camp, I had consequently broken the Covid ‘bubble’ and as such I’ve had to leave the castle and all the wonderful celebs that remain in the camp.
‘Obviously I’m gutted to be leaving so soon but the safety of all the campmates is the number one priority. I’m incredibly excited to watch their journey continue…even more so at the prospect of being somewhere a little warmer than Gwrych Castle…
‘Thank you to everyone who supported me on my brief but completely unforgettable adventure – I’ve made some great friends and honestly had the time of my life.’
Gross! The broadcaster, who was paid an estimated £200,000 to star in this year’s competition, was taken ill hours after participating in a gruelling trial
An I’m A Celebrity spokesperson added: ‘Our strict Covid protocols means Richard has sadly had to leave the show as he is no longer in the bubble the celebrities form when entering the castle.
‘He has been a truly brilliant camp mate and we thank him for being part of this series.’
A source also told MailOnline: ‘Richard is devastated. He was doing his best in the trials and embracing every part of life in camp, this isn’t the way he saw his I’m A Celeb journey ending.
‘Richard going back to camp would pose as too much of a risk to the other contestants, who have isolated and formed a bubble to protect themselves from a possible Covid-19 outbreak on set.
‘Gutted’: In a statement Richard, who was believed to be at Glan Clwyd Hospital in Rhyl, reassured fans that he’s ‘fine’ after his health scare
‘Everyone on the show will miss him – he’s been a huge part of camp and it’s so disappointing he won’t be able to return.’
It had been thought that musician DJ Locksmith had been enlisted as a standby contestant, but no one is set to replace Richard in the castle.
It was also thought that Richard will still be paid his full fee for his time on the show, despite spending just four days in the castle.
An ITV spokesperson previously revealed that Richard had been hospitalised in the early hours of Thursday morning after falling ill overnight.
They told MailOnline: ‘Richard was unwell in the early hours and was immediately seen by our on-site medical team.’
They added: ‘He’s since been taken to hospital as a precaution, the health and safety of our campmates is our priority.’
Worry: Richard was treated at Glan Clwyd Hospital after falling ill overnight
Presenter Chloe took to Instagram to say she had spoken to her father and that while he was annoyed he couldn’t return, he was ‘absolutely fine’, before gushing she was ‘so proud’ of him.
She wrote: ‘Thanks for all your lovely messages, dad’s absolutely fine, we’ve been speaking to him all day and ultimately, he’s just livid he can’t go back into camp because of Covid restrictions.’
She continued: ‘He did himself proud though. He worked hard and was his calm, collected, kind and funny self. We are so proud!’
Family: Later on Thursday Richard’s daughter Chloe revealed that her father is ‘livid’ he can’t go back into the I’m A Celebrity camp after his shock hospital dash (pictured together)
Statement: Presenter Chloe, 34, took to Instagram to say she had spoken to him and that while he was annoyed he couldn’t return, he was ‘absolutely fine’, before gushing she was ‘so proud’ of him
A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson said: ‘We were called at 05.43am this morning, Thursday 25 November 2021, to reports of a medical emergency at Gwrych Castle in Abergele, Conwy.
‘We sent a paramedic in a rapid response car and an emergency ambulance to the scene, and one patient was taken to hospital.’
After news of Richard’s hospitalisation broke, his Good Morning Britain co-host Susanna Reid also took to Twitter to offer her well wishes.
She wrote: ‘Sending love – hope he’s feeling ok now. Doing brilliant job on#IACGMOOH and being supportive to everyone. Get well soon Richard.’
Close call: The star was also treated at an on-site medical facility outside Gwrych Castle, before an ambulance was called to take him to hospital
Safety first: Nurses were seen arriving at the facility where Richard was taken ill, before he was hospitalised
Progress: An ITV spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘Richard was unwell in the early hours and was immediately seen by our on-site medical team’
Just hours earlier Richard had earned just four stars in his first solo trial, Kitchen Nightmares, and confessed the ordeal had left him ‘freezing.’
He was forced to use his mouth to try and untie some of the knots to retrieve stars that were hanging from a rope.
As fish guts and offal fell on him, the presenter struggled to unknot the string that had the stars on and exasperated said: ‘Holy Moly’, before the klaxon sounded again, marking the end of the task.
Speaking about the knot he said: ‘Who tied these knots? It’s wet and it’s tight. This one isn’t at tight’, prompting laughs from Ant and Dec.
‘Such a disappointment,’ Richard said: ‘We’ll have something to eat tonight. I was really hoping to do better than that.’
Still there: In first look images from Thursday’s show, which was partially filmed on Wednesday night, Richard could be seen alongside his campmates before being hospitalised
A disheartened Richard returned to camp and told them how difficult he found the trial, and the campmates graciously accepted that he had only managed to get four stars, leading to measly dinner of squirrel.
At the end of the show, which was broadcast live, Richard was seen alongside the rest of the camp being told by Ant and Dec that all 10 of them would be heading to the trial area for the latest challenge.
It was then revealed that soap stars Simon Gregson, 47, and Adam Woodyatt would be taking part in the Castle Scare Fair Trial as they arrived in camp.
Challenging: The disheartened star only managed to earn four meals in his first solo trial, and later confessed it left him ‘chilled to the bone’