Abbey Holmes SAS Australia

SAS Australia 2023 Recap Episode 5: Abbey Holmes cheats death in near-miss cliff fall

And another Recruit VWs

It’s episode five of SAS Australia 2023 and Abbey Holmes has escaped death after a near-miss cliff fall.

CONTENT WARNING: This article references self-harm and may be triggering to some readers.

It’s the halfway point, and the nine remaining recruits have bonded; however, their trust in each other is tested with a suburban warfare drone task. 

In teams of two – a drone operator as the eyes in the sky and the other, a lone ground soldier – the teams work to navigate a series of buildings and exfiltrate to safety. Heartraising stuff!

Given his reckless behaviour during the task and questionable attitude, the DS summon Olympic diver Mathew Mitcham to the mirror room.

Ant Middleton and Matthew Mitcham. Seven
Ant Middleton and Matthew Mitcham. Seven

Matthew Mitcham’s Interrogation

During questioning, Matthew shared the torment of his drug addiction, his low self-esteem and how he used self-harm as a coping mechanism. 

“When I got overwhelmed with feelings that I couldn’t keep on the inside, I used to cut myself out of anger. Because I felt like then the problem was dealt with, it was some sort of release for me;” he said in a heartbreaking admission.

“And after one particular episode, I went far too far, and I, I had to call my grandma to take me to hospital.”

Further, he said that diving gave him a sense of self-worth.

“It was my ticket to being special, basically, because I knew I could do it really well. And that’s all I kind of wanted.” 

Matthew Mitcham. Seven
Matthew Mitcham. Seven

The Second Task

During the second task of the day, the recruits were paired up, with one person rappelling down a mountainous cliff face while the other had full control of the rope to break their teammate’s free fall.  

Breaking too late and with no control of Abbey’s free fall, international rugby star Mahalia needed DS Jay to step in, saving Abbey from hitting the ground. 

Shaken by the experience, Mahalia was called in to talk with the DS, where she opened up about the accident that put her mother in the hospital for over a year.

Mahalia’s Interrogation

“She’s still with us gratefully. But she did die three times on the table. She spent a year and a half in hospital,” she said.

Mahalia then said that her sister had to step up to take “responsibility” for the family.

“My sister had to take responsibility, but she was going through that phase where, because she didn’t have a figure around her to lead, she kind of just took the wrong path, got involved in drugs.”

Ant Middleton and Mahalia. Seven
Ant Middleton and Mahalia. Seven

Then, tragedy called on the family once more when her older sister passed after suffering a heart attack.  

“To lose my sister when I was 13 had a massive impact on my family, again experiencing grief at a young age. I went into a shell and isolated myself from everyone. It was painful. The fact that I will never see her or hear her voice again give her one more cuddle, really hurts.”

Anthony Mundine VWs

After five gruelling days, Anthony “The Man” Mundine handed in his number to the DS.

“Walking away, I feel great. I feel that I’ve changed, and something has pushed me out of my comfort zone,” he said. 

“Doing a task, even though I didn’t pass a lot of them, I actually learned there are certain things for certain people. So, I’m like one of the best athletes ever. I didn’t say I was the best SAS fella; I just came to enjoy the experience. I made it halfway through and I’m grateful for that.”

If you or someone you know is in distress and needs more information, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800.

Want more recaps? Check out our SAS Australia 2023 recaps below!

Episode 1 / Episode 2 / Episode 3 / Episode 4

SAS Australia 2023 continues on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights at 7.30 pm on 7 and 7Plus.

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