It was the third season of Deadliest Catch when viewers witnessed a situation that had all the hallmarks of tragedy. A production crew was embedded on the Time Bandit — a boat that would be featured in over a dozen seasons of the show — when the ship’s captain, Johnathan Hillstrand, watched as a sailor from a nearby boat was swallowed up by the waves. The sailor tried to secure crab pots on the ship in 30-foot waves – an extremely dangerous practice, especially in rough seas.
Hillstrand and his crew kept a close eye on the sailor as he rode over the rail of the nearby ship while chaining the pots to the boat. Then came the catastrophe. As the ship rolled back and forth in the massive waves, the sailor was practically submerged in the masses of water that sloshed over the ship’s side. After the boat moved sharply to port and a huge wave engulfed the ship’s deck, Hillstrand noticed that the deckhand had disappeared.
He immediately sounded the alarm and announced to his crew: “Man overboard, man overboard” and began preparations to rescue the lost sailor. After the alarm went off, Hillstrand turned his ship to intercept the fallen sailor, as hypothermia can take only a few minutes in the water to set in.