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Deadliest Catch captain went into 'panic mode' when crew member was swept overboard

Deadliest Catch has captured countless jaw-dropping moments but the worst occurs when a crewmate is flung overboard while on the job.

The fishermen of Deadliest Catch fight against the elements while hunting for Alaskan king crabs on the Bering Sea. But with 30ft waves as obstacles, there are moments when even the seasoned professionals are defeated. Luckily there have only been a handful of occasions the crew screamed “Man overboard”, but season 1 documented a tragic disaster that ended with multiple deaths.

Deadliest Catch fishing vessel sailing on rough sea
Credit Discovery YouTube

3 times Deadliest Catch cast mates were swept overboard

F/V Summer Bay’s Spencer Moore

In 2017, Summer Bay deckhand Spencer Moore nearly lost his life after choppy waves during a supermoon storm saw a strong current pull him off the deck. Moore was attempting to attach a crab pot to the block when he was swept off the boat and into the pitch-back icy waters.

The quick-thinking crew threw a life ring into the ocean and Spencer stayed afloat in the 34F water until he was reeled back in.

“I was trying to get the bag in the block, and it’s just ripping hard, and I held on, and it ripped me over way faster than I could let go,” Moore recalled.

Captain “Wild” Bill Wichrowski was also shaken by the incident. “I get choked up talking about that,” he told PopCulture. “I’ve done this for 40-something years and never had a man in the water. So that was pretty hairy.”

“We’ve fished in way worse…but it was just the wrong thing at the wrong time. I can still see him going over the side,” he added.

F/V Saga’s Kevin “Kado” Davis

In season 1, greenhorn Kevin “Kado” Davis went over the rail and was swiftly pulled back by his crew members. At the time, the young crew member admitted he was “scared” and “seriously thought he was not gonna make it.”

Years later, Davis – now Ramblin’ Rose’s deck boss – warned newbies to “stay on their toes” and “always keep their head on swivel,” after his brush with death.

F/V Trailblazer’s Josh White

Time Bandit co-captain Johnathan Hillstrand saved Josh White in October 2006 after he fell off the Trailblazer, a nearby vessel. Luckily, White was wearing a lifevest during the season 3 incident but he was still at risk of hyperthermia in the freezing waters. According to the Discovery Channel star, White was turning white and they began stripping his clothes off back on the boat. Then-31-year-old White took a brief break from crabbing as a result.

F/V Big Valley sinking resulted in five deaths

Five men on board the Big Valley died January 15, 2005 when the fishing vessel sank 70 miles west of St. Paul Island, a windswept island in the Bering Sea. Six fishermen were on board but only Cache Seel, then age 30, survived. He was floating in a life raft and wore a survival suit. Two other men who had survival suits were found dead by helicopters. Their names were Gary Edwards, Danny Vermeersch, Josias Luna, Carlos Rivero, and Aaron Marrs.

Although Big Valley was never featured prominently on Deadliest Catch, the disaster was documented in season 1 episode 6 as other boats reacted to the tragedy.

The LA Times reports that although investigators “could not conclude that overloading caused the sinking,” the vessel was transporting more crab pots than recommended. The 50 to 55 pots weighed 700lbs each and were allegedly stacked twice as high.

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