New York : When naturalist Paul Rosolie wanted to focus attention on the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, he decided he needed a stunt guaranteed to get people looking. So the staunch environmentalist offered himself as dinner to an anaconda — and was prepared to be swallowed alive, filming every moment.
But in the end, Rosolie wasn’t exactly ingested by the snake, disappointing viewers who expected a journey into the belly of the deadly beast. Instead he let the anaconda coil around him before calling the mission off, fearing he might get seriously injured.
To avoid suffocating, experts crafted Rosolie a specially designed carbon fiber suit, equipped with a breathing system — as well as with cameras and a system to communicate. As the snake wrapped around a suited-up Rosolie — at one point opening its wide jaws on his helmet — the daredevil said she was squeezing his arm tight, which he feared might break.
“I felt her jaw on my helmet and I could hear a gurgling and wheezing,” he said, after surviving the standoff with the snake. His team looked on worried as his breathing strained and his heart rate slowed. He told them he was feeling light-headed and as the anaconda squeezed tight around him, he called for help.
“Guys you need to get in here… I’m calling it I need help!” he said from inside the suit, prompting the support crew to rescue an exhausted Rosolie from the anaconda’s powerful grip.
“Her crush force was fully on my exposed arm so I just started to feel the blood drain out of my hand and I felt the bone start to flex and when that got to a point when I felt like it was about to snap, I had to tap out,” he said.
Finally Rosolie survived, and now people all around the world have a chance to watch his harrowing struggle with the beast, after its debut broadcast on Sunday night in the United States on the Discovery Channel.
Viewers on social media were swift in criticizing the show’s misleading title after it aired Sunday.
“‘Eaten Alive’ to be re-titled ‘Eaten Alive: Just Kidding,'” said one user. Another tweeted: “Eaten Alive? More like Briefly Drooled On By A Snake While Alive.”
After the US showing, the inaccurately named “Eaten Alive” will air on December 10th in Finland, Denmark, Hungary, Poland and Sweden, and two days later in Australia, before being broadcast in other countries, including China and India.
Discovery said it expect at least three million viewers in the United States and a million others around the world.
A fund linked to the show was set up to raise awareness and money to protect the Amazon and could also allow for more research of anacondas in their habitat.