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'Deadliest Catch' cast member found dead in hotel room

February 24, 2011 |  3:21 pm

"Deadliest Catch" Time Bandit deckhand found dead "Deadliest Catch" deckhand Justin Tennison of the F/V Time Bandit was found dead this week in an Alaska hotel room after he didn't show up for work Tuesday.

Tennison, 34, a father of two and veteran of the Alaska fishing industry, joined the Time Bandit crew as a deckhand when the crew went after red king crab in late 2010 and opilio crab in early 2011, according to the vessel's official website. He will appear posthumously in the upcoming seventh season of "Deadliest Catch."

The Time Bandit site says Tennison "died peacefully in his sleep." An autopsy is pending, and cause of death has not been confirmed. Beer, hard liquor and a small amount of marijuana were found in the room, said local police, who believe a party may have been held in the room Monday night.

Second cousin Eddie Uwekoolani, who also works on the Time Bandit and saw Tennison about 10 p.m. Monday night, told ABC News that because of their high-risk jobs they'd discussed last wishes.

"His last wishes were to be cremated and taken out to the water for one long trip," Uwekoolani said. "He loved Alaska. He loved hunting and fishing and everything about it. He loved his kids tremendously."

A message on the Time Bandit website said, "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."

Discovery issued a statement expressing "our sympathies to his entire family and fellow crew members during this most difficult time."

The show, which follows five vessels during crab-fishing season on the Bering Sea, isn't called "Deadliest Catch" for nothing: Fishing-related jobs had the country's the highest rate of on-the job fatalities, according to 2009 statistics published by CNBC. Compare fishing's on-the-job fatality rate of 200 deaths per 100,000 workers to the overall U.S. rate, 3.3 per 100,000.

Season 6 of the show was marked by the death of Cornelia Marie Capt. Phil Harris, who passed away Feb. 9, 2010, after collapsing on the job Jan. 30, 2010. "Deadliest Catch" incorporated Harris' death in that season's story arc, and the struggles of crew member Jake Harris, the younger of the captain's sons, caught the public eye in the months that followed.

Capt. Phil's ashes were spread on the Bering Sea at the start of crab season.


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-- Christie D'Zurilla

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: The Time Bandit at work in 2007. Justin Tennison worked on the vessel as a deckhand. Credit: Discovery Channel