Is ‘Deadliest Catch’ full of death? See the TV fishermen who lost their lives
Discovery Channel’s flagship series Deadliest Catch is a riveting Emmy-winning reality show that premiered in 2005. The reality series follows the life of fishermen at sea during the Alaskan king crab fishing seasons. Discovery Channel’s,
The fishermen have to face the wrath of the Bering Sea while maneuvering hundreds of pounds of crab across a deck littered with hazards. The whole drill is dangerous for both the fishermen & camera crew members who chronicle the fishermen’s lives.
But lately, the catch isn’t what makes Deadliest Catch deadly – the supposed “curse” of the show has plagued the reality series with the deaths of several cast members over the course of its sixteen season run.
The perils of fishing in the stormy waters of the Bering Sea pose an obvious danger, but who knew that simply appearing on Deadliest Catch may have transformed into its own brand of threat, resulting in many tragic deaths?
During the sixth season of Deadliest Catch, Captain Phil Harris of the Cornelia Marie suffered a stroke onboard and underwent an emergency cranial surgery, which sadly couldn’t save his life. He died at the age of fifty-three. Phil Harris’s death shook up the entire cast & crew of the show. However, his isn’t the only life that Cornelia Marie claimed.
In 2011, Harris’ good friend, Tony Lara, appeared in six episodes of Deadliest Catch as the Captain of Cornelia Marie. Unfortunately, just four years after his appearance, Lara died of a heart attack in his sleep in Sturgis, South Dakota according to law enforcement in South Dakota & the Deadliest Catch’s Facebook page.
Justin Tennison’s death was another tragedy in a string of misfortunate deaths to hit the cast on board Deadliest Catch. Just days after he returned from the sea, Justin Tennison was found dead in the Best Western Bidarka Inn in Homer, Alaska, as per the police report. Tennison worked as a deckhand on the Time Bandit ship.
In January of 2010, Captain Jake Anderson’s dad, Keith Anderson, went missing. Two weeks after Keith was reported missing, authorities found his truck & phone abandoned in a rural area. However, police had no leads on what happened to Jake’s dad until two years later when a hiker unearthed Keith’s skeletal remains about a mile away from where Keith’s truck had been abandoned.
In 2015, Joe McMahon, a former associate producer on Deadliest Catch was shot & killed in front of his parents’ home in Pasadena, California, as per Deadline. The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department thereafter reported they found the suspect dead in his car with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
On May 29th, 2018, former Deadliest Catch star, Blake Painter was found dead in his home in Astoria, Oregon. TMZ reported that the former F/V Maverick captain’s body was discovered when a friend grew concerned and called the police after not having heard from him for several days.
Painter most likely died from an accidental overdose as, according to the police report, multiple forms of drugs including what police believe to be heroin & meth, were found near Painter’s body.
In July 2020, Mahlon Reyes, a deckhand who worked on the crab boats, Seabrooke & Cape Caution, died of a heart attack at 38. Reyes appeared on fourteen episodes of Deadliest Catch. His wife confirmed to USA Today that he was cremated and that his castmates plan to spread his ashes in the Bering Sea.
The untimely death of Nick McGlashan, who worked as deck boss on Deadliest Catch, dealt another blow to the cast of the long-running reality show. Joining the list of Deadliest Catch deaths, Nick McGlashan died in December 2020 due to unknown causes, per TMZ.
McGlashan had previously struggled with heroin, meth, and alcohol abuse which led to his termination from season 13 of Deadliest Catch. He did, however, go to rehab and battle endlessly to stay sober and embrace a sober lifestyle.