Deadliest Catch has been a huge hit for Discovery over the years, with people who never thought in a million years that they’d be interested in watching a reality show about crab fishermen tuning in by the millions to follow the deadliest journey. Throughout 12 seasons, the guys (and few women) who navigate the treacherous waters of the Bering Sea have kept us biting our nails as they survive brutal storms, ice-choked waterways, accidents on deck, and, in the case of Sig Hansen, a horrific heart attack in the wheelhouse. Now, with the season finale coming up, we’re finally getting a sneak peek of just what happened when the captain started feeling off.
In a post on Twitter, Discovery shared a scary clip of Sig from this past March, when he began having chest pains and a shooting cramp down his left arm. At first, he seems only mildly irritated that he’s feeling bad, but as the moments tick by, viewers can see that something is very wrong. Sig starts to lose color in his face and says it feels like a vise is tightening around his chest.
— Deadliest Catch (@DeadliestCatch) July 31, 2016
Sig explained after he recovered that not only was he having symptoms of a heart attack, it was happening on a day when several other things had already gone wrong, including a fire while his daughter, Mandy, was on board.
“We managed to damage the bow because of the first storm we went through. We managed to dodge an electrical fire, which was in the engine room. Fire is your biggest fear, and Mandy was on the boat, too, when the fire happened. That was a potential life-and-death situation, plus the insurance and all the things that come with a fire — the Coast Guard, and trying to get the boat back to the shore safely. And then the weather and the fishing itself. I went through a lot of god—- s–t this year. It was a strange heart attack. It wasn’t like you see in the movies. I had this really sharp, sharp pain, like a knife, right behind my chest plate. It just kept pushing, and it was making me more angry,” Hansen said.
As any fan of the show knows, sometimes the fishing season just doesn’t go the way everyone wants it to, and the stress of it, on top of everything else that was happening, was too much for Sig’s body. Since then, he says, doctors have told him he has to change his lifestyle, and that includes no smoking and incorporating a more balanced diet into his daily routine. For Sig, the heart attack was a wake-up call.
— Deadliest Catch (@DeadliestCatch) July 28, 2016
“The doctor said I’d had a 50-50 chance of surviving. It made me realize that I’ve always put my job first. Now it’s time to be here for my family. I’m changing my life so I can be here for them,” Sig said.
As you can see in the clip, Sig — who has said he is “too stubborn to die” — didn’t initially want to go for medical attention because he had so many other things on his plate that day. It was only at the insistence of the show’s producers that he agreed to be airlifted to a hospital — after he blacked out.
Sig Hansen is certainly not the first captain to have medical problems; Phil Harris died from complications after a stroke, and Tony Lara passed away in his sleep of a heart attack. The reality show really does capture some of the most scary and heartbreaking moments in the lives of its subjects.
[Photo by Deadliest Catch/Facebook]