‘Deadliest Catch’ Fleet Faces a Wave of Injuries

by Amy Myers

Someone must have put a hex on the Deadliest Catch fleet. This season, several of the show’s vessels faced debilitating injuries that left many captains short on crew members. Back in August, we saw just how dangerous a simple mistake can be when put on a slippery deck beside 800-pound crab pots. Here’s a look back at one of the most painful weeks of the Opilio crab season on the Bering Sea.

Aboard the Time Bandit, Captain Johnathan Hillstrand faced a quickly approaching deadline to get to shore. The Deadliest Catch star needed to empty all of his crab pots onto the deck before his appointment at the cannery. Otherwise, he would have to wait an additional 10 days to unload his bounty and risk having his catch die on the vessel. In order to reach their deadline, the Time Bandit crew was working double-time to pull in the crab pots. Unfortunately, when moving faster, crew members tend to be less cautious when it comes to injury.

That’s how Hillstrand’s nephew, Phillip, ended up with a torn rotator cuff and separation in his shoulder. The crew member tried to stop the crab pot from swinging too far back, but instead, the huge metal cage knocked him back and caused him to quit the season. Just moments later, another crew member, Eddie, messed up his leg when he tripped over the sorting table. Once on shore, the doctor advised Eddie to sit the rest of the season out and heal at home.

Watch the catastrophic incidents in the clip below.

‘Deadliest Catch’ Captains Administer First Aid to Ailing Deck Boss

On the Summer Bay, Captain “Wild” Bill Wichrowski lost his rail man, Matt, when the line slipped from the crab block, pinning his hand against the steel device. Following the accident, the rail man couldn’t even bend his fingers as his hand tremored in pain.

So far, that’s two Deadliest Catch stars down for the Time Bandit and one for the Summer Bay.

The last injury was on board the Cornelia Marie with Captains Josh Harris and Casey McManus. After suffering severe bruising along the inside of his thigh, their deck boss was, as Harris politely put it “bleeding from his body.” As we found out from McManus’ phone call with a medic, this meant that the deck boss saw blood while in the bathroom.

To remedy the situation, the Deadliest Catch captains administered an injection of antibiotics to stop the bleeding. If the crew member’s condition improved over the next six hours, he could stay on the boat. If not, he would have to see a doctor immediately.

With the needle in hand, McManus gave his deck boss strict instructions to “turn around and drop ’em. Elbows on the table.”