'Hard to Kill' Star Tim Kennedy Had a Near-Death Experience Filming His New Discovery Show

Hard to Kill star Tim Kennedy is no stranger to dangerous situations. The active, Ranger qualified, Green Beret, Special Forces Sniper has served tours all over the globe, all while competing for world titles as a professional MMA fighter.

But his time filming the new Discovery series almost sent him to meet his maker, he told PopCulture.com ahead of the July 31 premiere.

Hard to Kill puts Kennedy through the ringer as he tackles the toughest and most dangerous jobs in the world to celebrate the unsung heroes of the American workforce. And while he admits every episode shows him "getting wrecked" while on the job, his time as experimental flight test pilot almost killed him. Kennedy told PopCulture that he nearly burned to death while trapped in the cockpit of a plane, feeling the melted fibers of his seat belt attach to his flesh as he tries to find an escape from his fiery prison.

"Finally, I'm like screw it. I just go complete idiot hulk, and I tear the canopy out to not get burnt alive," he said, showing off the scar on his back from the melted seat belt. "So, I woke up almost every single day trying to decide how I wasn't gonna die, and that's this show. It sounds pretty crazy when you put it all together."

And while Kennedy was admittedly trying to figure out "the quickest way to get out of this job in the shortest amount of time," he gives major credit to the everyday people who have been risking their lives for the rest of the country for their entire lives.

"These are just regular, middle America, blue collar, real badasses ... that get up every single morning and do the most remarkable things, the most amazing jobs to provide food for us, put oil in our cars, to figure out how to make flights safer and it's hard," he told PopCulture. "These jobs, they die in them all the time, nobody knows about them. They're scaling the side of buildings; they're flying helicopters in the middle of nowhere; they're crashing into the Arctic, and it's just commonplace for them. And I just get to hang out with them and see if I can do it, which I normally can't."

But why would Kennedy put himself through this? "I really believe in this American thing, and I've fought in a lot of war. But I guess the [question] is why? Why have I done all those things? Why have me and my friends gone overseas? And really it boils down to the American dream, and these people are living it. ... It makes our life livable and it makes the American dream possible and it makes all the reasons I fought overseas make sense. And that's why I'm doing it, to bring attention to these amazing people that do these incredible jobs."

He hopes those who tune in to Hard to Kill can be appreciative, and even more so be inspired to seek a life that works for them — even if that job is outside an office.

"I think that there's other people out there that aspire or dream to do something else, or maybe just want a window into a world that you could never imagine being in. Well, that's this window. You wanna walk a mile in a pair of boots that are covered in blood and dust and dirt and grime and oil? Watch this show."

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Hard to Kill premieres Tuesday, July 31 at 10 p.m. ET on Discovery.

Photo credit: Discovery