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The Devastating Death Of Deadliest Catch's Todd Kochutin

"Deadliest Catch" has been surrounded by some sad moments over the nearly two decades since its debut, and several of those have been heartbreaking deaths of captains and crew members. In 2011, a deckhand of the boat Time Bandit, Justin Tennison, was found dead in a hotel room from complications of sleep apnea. Just a month away from turning 34, his death came just a year after the beloved "Cornelia Marie" captain Phil Harris died of a stroke. Harris' death was felt just as strongly by viewers as it was by the crew, as his stroke and subsequent airlift to the hospital all occurred with the Discovery Channel cameras rolling.

One boat that has seen a few catastrophes in the past few years is the Patricia Lee. When Francis Katungin was pinned by an 800-pound crab pot in 2022 (via Outsider), the accident was eerily familiar to crew members, as Todd Kochutin had passed away in 2021 from what his obituary described as a "result of injuries sustained while on board F/V Patricia Lee" (via Anchorage Daily News). In a video released by Discovery UK Sig Hansen says, "It sounds like he got hit by a [crab] pot. If he got hit by one of those, that's a scary, scary thought." 

Curiously, a recent "Deadliest Catch" Reddit thread has introduced new questions from viewers as to what exactly happened to Kochutin.

Details around Todd Kochutin's death has always been vague

On Reddit, u/Beringcvet86 started a thread — "Todd, RIP” — with a repost that seems innocuous at first glance. The author begins by claiming they knew Todd Kochutin and that they had also worked on the "Patricia Lee." Then, they make a bold allegation about his death. "Todd was not hit by a pot it's worse," they write. "He was squeezed between the sorting table and a pole is what I was told by a crew that was there. The guy running the hydraulics pulled the lever to retract the table from the pot to the sort position and he did not check to see if it was clear and pinned Todd and crushed him."

The details around Kochutin's death have always been vague, and it's possible that what the Redditor was told by a fellow crew member on the "Patricia Lee" is incorrect. However, another reason why Kochutin's death is so tragic is the fact that he was the last living member of his immediate family. His obituary in the Anchorage Daily News notes that he "was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Deanna; brother, Dwayne; and sister, Ayla." No matter what actually caused Kochutin's death, it's a tragedy — one that is unfortunately seen too often in the world of crab fishing.