‘Gold Rush: White Water’: Fred Risks His Life in Dangerous Dive

by Chris Haney

Gold miners have a dangerous job, but it comes with the territory as they hunt for buried riches. As if we needed more proof, Gold Rush: White Water star Fred Hurt recently risked his life during a treacherous dive under the rushing waters of McKinley Creek. To top it off, he took the risky dive on his 78th birthday.

Fans of the hit Discovery Channel series know the father-son duo of Fred and Dustin Hurt well. We’re already into the heart of Season 5 of the spinoff reality gold mining show, but there’s been one glaring difference this year – no Fred Hurt. The veteran mining boss is now taking a backseat and letting Dustin run their family operation. But while filming the newest season last year, he returned to lend a helping a hand on his birthday.

“It looks like today, looks like I’m turning 78, that’s one thing,” Fred said with a laugh during a clip from the newest episode. “One hell of a day. Not many 78 year olds go out and celebrate by going diving… in a raging creek, looking for gold. I do.”

With 20 years of experience diving underwater for gold, Hurt decided to get back at it on his born day. Fred is tackling what their crew has called “the Widowmaker.” It’s a huge boulder in the middle of the creek that’s still hanging over their dive site. After failing multiple times to break it up, Fred is now going to take a look at it himself.

In a scary scene, the dive team’s hot water system is overheating. If it does, it could send scalding steam down into Fred’s dive suit. Thankfully, the Gold Rush: White Water crew discovers the issue before disaster strikes. However, that’s not the only issue the team had with Fred’s dive that day.

‘Gold Rush: White Water’ Stars Celebrate Fred’s 78th Birthday

After one problem gets fixed, there’s always another one right around the corner when it comes to gold mining. That was the case with Fred Hurt’s 78th birthday dive on Gold Rush: White Water.

While on the mic speaking to his father underwater, Dustin Hurt warned his dad of breathing issues with the equipment. Dustin could hear a “familiar noise” as they spoke. Fred’s regulator was starting to get stopped-up with tiny rocks. His father tries to push it off by saying it’s a microphone problem, but Dustin knew better. The air isn’t coming out correctly. Dustin tells his dad that he’s “playing with fire with this thing. It’ll suck tight to your face and you can’t breathe out. It won’t let you exhale.”

Yet as the narrator states, “Fred only takes orders from Fred.” The birthday boy doesn’t want to come out of the water to let the crew check his equipment. As his son mentions, he doesn’t want his dad to die on his 78th birthday. After three hours of diving, the crew finally pulls Fred out of the water just in time to Dustin’s relief.

Following the stressful day of mining, the Gold Rush: White Water crew takes a break from all their hard work. Everyone gathers to celebrate Fred’s 78th with an impressive cake to boot. Make sure to tune in and watch the new episode of the series on Discovery and Discovery Plus to see how their full day on the job played out.