Pete Wicks said he was “truly gutted” to be medically withdrawn from Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins after he knocked himself unconscious and broke his ribs during a challenge.
The Only Way Is Essex star was seen floating face down in the sea in the shocking scene which aired on Sunday, after jumping from a helicopter with reality star Ashley Cain in a helo-cast task.
Rescue swimmers raced to help the 33-year-old, flipping him over in the water as the concerned recruits were heard saying from the shoreline: “Someone’s struggling.”
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After swimming to shore, Wicks told a medic: “I winded myself and passed out, all my ribs are quite painful and my head is banging.”
He later said: “I had no worries about that challenge, which is the weirdest thing. My strongest thing is probably swimming.
“I genuinely thought this would be the challenge for me to show what I f****** got and I got it wrong, I got it very wrong. I think my leg got a little bit caught in the bag and I went straight down onto the bag, knocked myself out and broke my ribs.
“I felt dazed and confused. I was struggling to move my upper body. Basically, I think where I’d hit the bag, and I think just the impact of being unconscious and everything else, I was very confused.
“I didn’t really know exactly what was going on and even moving my arms was quite painful, just because the pressure that was on my ribs and everything, so it just wasn’t nice. It was just a strange, strange experience.”
Following his accident, the Channel 4 show’s chief medical officer medically withdrew Wicks because he needed to have a chest x-ray.
New chief instructor Rudy Reyes, who took over from Ant Middleton, told the TV star: “The issue is you have some damage and the course is going to get much harder physically, and it’s too risky for your health.”
Wiping his eyes, Wicks said: “I didn’t want to come out like this. I don’t f****** quit anything, that’s what it feels like.”
Wicks was the second recruit to leave the course after Love Island winner Amber Gill quit the show after failing to complete a physical challenge on the beach.
On leaving the show, Wicks said: “I was gutted actually. This is a bit of a thing for me, it’s like I’ve always wanted to do this show and the worst thing for me was to be taken out because that’s something that I can’t control.
“But, being completely honest, they’re 100% right because I wouldn’t have been able to carry on with my broken ribs. To have been out so early, I was absolutely gutted because it’s a fail. And, unfortunately now for me, I feel like I failed.
“It’s something that will f****** haunt me because I just don’t fail things. I don’t say I’m going to do something and don’t do it, so I was genuinely so hurt, gutted, disappointed and angry at myself.
“I still am, to be honest, even a year later. That was tough for me. I felt like I’d let a lot of people down, I felt like I’d let myself down.
“There was no way I was ever going to hand my armband in. I knew I never would, so to go out the way I did really hurt. To be withdrawn because you’re physically unable to carry on for something that was an unfortunate accident, I just found really, really tough.”
Wicks said he would do the show again tomorrow if they gave him a second chance to appear.
“I feel like I’ve got unfinished business and I failed as far as I’m concerned. I want to put that right,” he said.
“It was something that is genuinely going to haunt me. I think there are so many things that happen on that show that would have benefited me as a person.
“Everyone who’s been on it said they came out a changed person. I think that’s the thing that I’m most sad about – that I didn’t get an opportunity for that too – I really felt like I was beginning, after just a few days, to understand a little bit more about myself and why I am the way I am.
“I think that’s what I missed out on. I really think the course would have changed my life. So, to leave the way I did just left me quite angry. It’s left more than just a bitter taste in my mouth, I’m truly gutted.”
The episode also saw recruits freefall from a 50ft cliff, with another former Towie star Ferne McCann breaking down in tears after struggling during the challenge.