Deadliest Catch - How Many People Have Died on Deadliest Catch?

January 22, 2024

The acclaimed reality TV show Deadliest Catch has shown viewers what it is like to work aboard a crab boat, but it hasn't been without tragedy. Many of the crew members who appear on the popular show have died, some due to illness and others as a result of the dangerous nature of their work. Here are some of the most notable deaths to have taken place on deadliest catch.

The first major death to occur on the show was that of skipper Phil Harris, who passed away in 2010 after suffering a pulmonary embolism while filming his sixth season on the Cornelia Marie. The show documented his final moments before he was rushed to the hospital.

Another recurring character on the show was deck boss Nick McGlashan, who appeared in 78 episodes of the series over seven years. He was a seventh generation fisherman, but he struggled with drug addiction and alcohol abuse. TMZ reported that he died on Dec. 28, 2020, from a cocaine overdose. His wife, who was also his co-host on the show, has requested that his ashes be spread in the Bering Sea.

The producers of the show have also experienced some tragedies. In 2015, associate producer Joseph McMahon was shot and killed near his parents' home in California. Police believe he was targeted by a former friend from high school. Blake Painter, who worked on the show as a deckhand on the f/v Wizard and f/v Time Bandit, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home in Homer, Alaska, in May 2018. The CDC reports that in the late 1990s, fishermen in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands crab fleet averaged eight fatalities each year before the Coast Guard began dockside stability and safety checks.

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