The Sad 2021 Death Of Todd Kochutin From Deadliest Catch

In February 2021, crew members on the F/V Summer Bay were informed that one of their own working on another boat, the F/V Patricia Lee, had been seriously injured. They had no idea how bad that injury would turn out to be. The Summer Bay is just one of many fishing boats featured on "Deadliest Catch," a long-running reality TV series about the tough king crab fishing industry in Alaska's Bering Sea.

Since the show's premiere in 2005, a number of "Deadliest Catch" cast members have died. As of 2023, the series was in its 19th season. Todd Kochutin was the Patricia Lee crew member injured, and the 30-year-old was pronounced dead onboard the ship, People writes. According to Kochutin's colleague Captain Sig Hansen — of the F/V Northwestern, another fishing vessel from the series — Kochutin was crushed and killed by a massive crab pot weighing hundreds of pounds.

Before he died, Kochutin was reportedly in massive amounts of pain, according to a medic at the scene who tried to help him. To die in that way was a "scary, scary, thought," Hansen said. As of 2023, Kochutin was the latest "Deadliest Catch" cast member to lose his life.

Kochutin's death came as a blow to fellow 'Deadliest Catch' cast members

At first, details were scarce about exactly what happened to Todd Kochutin on the day he died. His official cause of death resulted from "injuries sustained while on board F/V Patricia Lee," according to his obituary, published by Anchorage Daily News. Discovery released footage of Captain Bill Wichrowski of the F/V Summer Bay, as he's informed that the Patricia Lee requires med-evac. Kochutin had worked the Summer Bay in previous fishing seasons. 

Wichrowski and his crew became visibly emotional when they learned that Kochutin had died. Captain Wichrowski called it "a cold hard reminder what can happen ... He was a good hand." According to Kochutin's obituary, he was preceded in death by his parents, as well as his brother and sister. He is reportedly buried at St. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church on St. Paul Island, a large, remote island in the Pribilof Islands, off the coast of Alaska in the Bering Sea.

There was online speculation about what really happened to Kochutin

With few details about Todd Kochutin's death available, one Redditor speculated that what really happened was much worse than the show let on. When news of Kochutin's death broke, u/Beringcvet86, who claimed to know Kochutin and to have worked on the F/V Patricia Lee in the past, wrote (via Reddit), "Todd was not hit by a pot it's worse, he was squeezed between the sorting table and a pole is what I was told by a crew that was there."

In their post, the Redditor went on to add, "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. It's weird that the true story never was made public." That version of events is mere speculation and can't be verified. That said, the exact circumstances of how Kochutin died may never be known. In 2022, Frances Katungin was also crushed by a crab pot on the Patricia Lee — but he survived.