The dangers of the Bering Sea aren’t lost on viewers at home, but few can say they’ve had to weather the storm firsthand. Since the show’s inception in 2005, the Deadliest Catch franchise has tragically lost some of its favorite fishermen and deckhands.
Here’s a look at the fallen crew of Deadliest Catch.
In 2010, Captain Phil Harris suffered a massive stroke at age 33 while offloading crab at St. Paul Island, Alaska. He passed away after nine days in the ER.
The incident occurred while filming the sixth season of Deadliest Catch. According to E! Online, Harris was placed in an induced coma after the stroke, and later awoke from the coma when his condition improved. He later died from an intracranial hemorrhage.
Harris started fishing at just eight years old and was the captain and part-owner of the Cornelia Marie. He was part of Deadliest Catch since its premiere in 2005.
In a statement about his passing, Discovery Channel said, “Discovery mourns the loss of dear friend and colleague Captain Phil Harris. He was more than someone on our television screen. Phil was a devoted father and loyal friend to all who knew him. We will miss his straightforward honesty, wicked sense of humor and enormous heart. We share our tremendous sadness over this loss with the millions of viewers who followed Phil’s every move. We send our thoughts and prayers to Phil’s sons Josh and Jake and the Cornelia Marie crew.”
In 2010, Jake Anderson’s father, Dr. Keith Anderson, went missing. His truck was later found in a rural part of Washington. Two years after vanishing, a hiker found Keith Anderson’s remains.
According to King 5 Local News, Anderson was last seen going to meet an unidentified acquaintance in the Arlington area.
Keith’s disappearance marked the first time he had spent the night away from his wife in their 43 years of marriage, according to Komo News. Jake was told of his father’s passing during season six of Deadliest Catch.
In 2015, Lara, the former captain of the Cornelia Marie, suffered a massive heart attack at age 50. E! Online reported that Lara was in South Dakota for a motorcycle rally the weekend that he passed away. A spokesperson for the network told the outlet, “We’ve lost a member of the Deadliest Catch family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family at this very sad time.”
Lara started working on the Cornelia Marie in 1990.
Blake Painter was found dead in his Oregon home in 2018. He was just 38.
Painter was captain of the F/V Maverick from 2006 to 2007. He was the youngest fisherman in the crew during season three of the reality series, and appeared on season two of the show, as well.
In June 2018, TMZ revealed that authorities found a “variety of drugs” near his body when he was found.
In 2011, Justin Tennison was found dead inside an Alaskan hotel room four days after returning from sea. He was 33 at the time of his death.
A statement posted on the Time Bandit page at the time read, “It is with great sadness that the Time Bandit family announces the death of crew member Justin Tennison. Justin died peacefully in his sleep. 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.”
An autopsy later revealed he passed away due to complications from sleep apnea.
Mahlon Reyes, a deckhand on Deadliest Catch, passed away in August 2020 after suffering a heart attack. According to TMZ, Mahlon survived the heart attack but never regained consciousness.
One day after suffering the heart attack, Mahlon’s family took him off of life support. The outlet writes that Mahlon’s family was not aware of any existing health conditions.