The cast and crew of Deadliest Catch are constantly up against some of the most dangerous sailing conditions one could imagine. In addition to the perilous icy waters of the Bering Sea, the Discovery show has shown the fishermen they follow face their share of close calls, injuries and even death.
There have been a fair number of tragedies not related directly to fishing that have claimed the lives of the Deadliest Catch stars. As with the latest passing in the show's cast, sometimes health emergencies catch up to crabbers before the seas do. Keep scrolling for a look back on the show's late stars.
This place misses you. RIP Mahlon. pic.twitter.com/OQK68Pm0kx— Nick McGlashan (@NickMcglashan) July 27, 2020
Deckhand Mahlon Reyes is the latest Deadliest Catch star to pass away. He died on July 26 after suffering a heart attack the day prior. Reyes' wife confirmed his passing to TMZ, stating that the heart attack rendered him unconscious. The family decided to take him off life support the following day.prevnext
Former Deadliest Catch captain Blake Painter is also the among latest of the Discovery cast members to pass away. On May 29, 2018, Painter was found dead at the age of 38 in his Astoria, Oregon home, TMZ reported at the time. Painter hadn't appeared on the Discovery series since 2007, when he captained the F/V Maverick. When a friend of his hadn't heard from him in a few days, police discovered him in his home.
Police revealed that they are testing substances found at the scene of Painter's death for narcotics, and they do not suspect foul play. An official cause of death will be released pending an autopsy and toxicology test.According to The Daily Astorian, Painter was arrested earlier this year after allegedly smoking heroin while driving.prevnext
Cornelia Marie Captain Phil Harris' death in 2010 shocked both fans of the show and those who knew him personally after he suffered a stroke while unloading crab in Alaska.
Son Josh Harris, who now captains the Cornelia Marie, opened up about his father's death to PEOPLE at the time.
“The whole left side of his face was in paralysis, and that was hard,” Josh said. “He couldn’t move his arms or anything, he was just paralyzed on the floor.”
Phil was taken to the hospital in Anchorage, where he was rushed into surgery. After coming out of a medically-induced coma, he passed away at the age of 53 while surrounded by his family and friends.
“We had nine days total that we were there to enjoy a few moments with him,” Josh said at the time. “We had our closest people there, and it was awesome.”prevnext
Former Cornelia Marie captain Tony Lara died of a heart attack at the age of 50 while sleeping in Surgis, South Dakota in 2015., Discovery spokespeople confirmed at the time.
The former Deadliest Catch captain appeared in six episodes of the Discovery show, but made his mark clear.
“He was always a captain that was super easy to get along with,” Lara’s fellow captain Keith Colburn told PEOPLE. “Very professional and people enjoyed his company.”
“He was a really good guy all around, and he had wonderful character,” added Colburn. “If you ever needed help, he would be the first guy there to help you out.”prevnext
Deckhand Justin Tennison, who worked on Deadliest Catch's Time Bandit, passed away in 2011 at the age of 33 due to complications with sleep apnea, autopsy results reportedly revealed. Tennison was found dead in a Homer, Alaska hotel room just four days after returning from sea.
“It is with great sadness that the Time Bandit family announces the death of crew member Justin Tennison,” the ship's crew posted on its website at the time. “Justin died peacefully in his sleep.”
“Justin was tough as a bull and was an all-around good hand,” they continued. “The captains and crew appreciated his hard work and many contributions this past year. We will miss him terribly and wish his family all the best during this most difficult time. Justin is survived by a son, daughter, sister, father and grandparents.”prevnext
Dr. Keith Anderson
Perhaps the most haunting of the Deadliest Catch deaths is that of Keith Anderson, the father of current Saga captain Jake Anderson. Keith went missing in 2010, when Jake was a deckhand on the Northwestern. His truck was found in a rural part of Washington about two weeks later.
In 2012, Keith's skeletal remains were found by a hiker near where his truck was found. The heartbreaking sequence of events played out on the Discovery show.prevnext
Joe McMahon may not have been hauling in crab with the Deadliest Catch stars, but the former producer on the show endured similar conditions to some of his counterparts in front of the camera. In July 2015, McMahon was shot and killed near his parents home in Pasadena, California at the age of 24.
As an associate producer for Discovery in 2013, McMahon worked on nine episodes of Deadliest Catch. According to Deadline, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department reported soon after his death that the suspected shooter was found dead in his car with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.prevnext
The Crew of the Ocean Challenger
Sometimes things go wrong at sea that they can claim the lives of many fishermen at once.
The sinking of the Ocean Challenger in 2006 off the coast of Alaska is a chilling reminder of that. After the boat capsized for unknown reasons, Skipper David “Cowboy” Hasselquist of Hoonah, Alaska and Walter Foster of Westport, Washington, were found dead by the Coast Guard. A third man, identified by the Coast Guard as a 26-year-old Kodiak fisherman, was never recovered.
The only survivor, 28-year-old Kevin Ferrell, was the only person wearing a survival suit, the Coast Guard said.prevnext
The crew of the destination
The dangers of being at sea were once again driven home for the Deadliest Catch crew in 2017, when the Destination tragically sank into the Bering Sea, taking with it the lives of crew members Charles Glenn Jones, Larry O’Grady, Raymond Vincler, Darrik Seibold, Kai Hamik and Captain Jeff Hathaway.0comments
“The funny thing is that everyone calls me a screamer, but my hero was ‘Hollering Jeff Hathaway,’ who was the captain of the Destination," Anderson told PopCulture exclusively this year. "So it was a big hit for the fleet; it was a big hit for me personally, along with [the loss of] my good friend Larry [O'Grady]."
Anderson continued, "It’s really hard, because Hollering Hathaway … he was the first person to ever offer me a real job as a captain. ... So I miss him dearly and the whole fleet does.”prev