Stew Kyle Viljoen knew almost immediately he couldn’t do the necessary work to finish the Below Deck Mediterranean season due to his injury. But he clung to hope that the strained ligaments in his ankle would somehow – miraculously – improve.
During a busy charter, Viljoen fell down a flight of stairs and was in extreme pain. He was immediately sent to the hospital where he was told that he stretched the ligaments in his ankle. “According to the doctor’s diagnosis, I could not be on my feet,” he recalled to Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “My only thing is, how can I leave my girls? But how can they go into 20 hours of work time and longer to make it happen for me? So I knew in my heart I need to make a move to get off the boat before they come and tell me the situation that we need extra attention.”
Kyle knew he had to leave the boat for at least 2 reasons
The crew quarters dynamics sealed his fate. “I knew deep down, we had no space on board for extra help,” Viljoen said. “So if we bring another person on, where is he or she going to sleep? I’m the only one who can relieve a bed space for this individual so it meant I had to get off, number one.”
Dave White, Kyle Viljoen, Natasha Webb | Laurent Basset/Bravo
“And number two, I can’t fully operate,” he recalled. “I’m a safety hazard right now on board. If we have to have an emergency evacuation with the guests on board, the main focus is going to be on me as opposed to the guests trying to get me up those stairs and onto a boat. So it’s a lot more factors that were taken into consideration.”
Captain Sandy tried to find a way for Kyle to stay on ‘Below Deck Med’
Viljoen said Captain Sandy Yawn agonized over how to help him finish the season. “She was genuinely heartsore,” Viljoen said about Yawn. “People did not see this behind the scenes. She was trying to do everything she could to try to make it possible for me.”
“But I knew I could not do it,” Viljoen admitted. “Not for me just sitting down in the crew mess blowing up a few balloons. And then I had people saying you should have polished some glasses or ironed. I cannot stand [laughs]! And what do you want me to do? That was just me offering some sort of help to the girls that I could possibly do.”
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He also recounted how he and the crew managed to navigate the steep and narrow staircase throughout the season. But exhaustion contributed to the misstep and fall.
“Those staircases are the skinny legends,” he joked. “And as you know, I’m quite a large individual, six foot three. So I don’t really think about it going all the way down and up. I do it all the time, I carry glasses and trays. I climb mountains with high heels on and as a chance the one time this happens, I missed the step and slid off right on the corner over there and I fell down a few steps. Hit my side over here on the panel of the cabinets in the pantry that makes people throw up and that’s what my crash landing moment is.”
Kyle worried Natalya wouldn’t help him after the argument on ‘Below Deck Med’
Viljoen was seen at the bottom of the staircase, writhing in pain. He said the amount of pain was no joke. “Honestly, it was so painful. It was instant pain,” he said. “And I obviously screamed up. I heard Natalya [Scudder] was around the corner.”
The fall occurred only moments after Viljoen and Scudder came off another argument, so he wasn’t convinced she’d help him.
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“Me and Natalya are just currently going through this argument, but now I’m at the point where I need assistance. I was like, ‘Put that aside, call upon the Natalya.’ I thought she was going to come up these stairs and probably kick me while I’m down, this is the perfect moment for her to get me. But she was there to show me love and call upon for a medical emergency.”
Viljoen remained on the boat for the rest of the charter. During the tip meeting, Yawn announced that Viljoen needed to be replaced, but emphasized he was not fired. Viljoen made Below Deck history, being the first yachtie to be replaced due to an injury.
Below Deck Mediterranean is on Monday at 8 pm ET on Bravo.
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