A crewman working on one of the fishing vessels featured in the reality TV show “The Deadliest Catch” has been found dead of unknown causes in a hotel room in his hometown, police said Wednesday.
Justin Tennison, 34, was found dead in a hotel in the fishing town of Homer, Alaska. His body was discovered Tuesday by the hotel cleaning staff, Homer Police Lt. Randy Rosencrans said Wednesday.
There was no sign of foul play and the cause of death was unknown, though an autopsy was being conducted Wednesday, Rosencrans said.
Tennison worked as an engineer on the Time Bandit, a vessel captained by brothers Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand, both of Homer.
In a Facebook post, Andy Hillstrand said Tennison “died peacefully in his sleep.”
“Justin was tough as a bull and was an all-around good hand. The captains and crew appreciated his hard work and many contributions this past year. We will miss him terribly and wish his family all the best during this most difficult time,” Hillstrand’s post said.
“The Deadliest Catch,” broadcast by the Discovery Channel, follows the journeys of several vessels and their crews as they harvest crab and other lucrative fish species in the Bering Sea off western Alaska.
Tennison is not the first Deadliest Catch fisherman to pass away.
The show chronicled last year’s death of one of the featured fishermen, Phil Harris, who died in an Anchorage hospital after falling victim to a stroke. Harris was captain of the Cornelia Marie.
Other Deadliest Catch crew members have been involved in various mishaps and police investigations.
Earlier this month, local police in Unalaska/Dutch Harbor, base port for most of the Bering Sea fishing fleet, reported that an unnamed crew member had trashed a hotel room that was being used as an office for the production team.
And in January, an inspector for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game was fired and charged with a misdemeanor offense after she took a $100 “gratuity” from Sig Hansen, captain of the Northwestern, another Deadliest Catch vessel.
Hansen had initially tried to buy the 26-year-old inspector dinner, according to Unalaska police