Spoiler alert: Don’t read unless you’ve seen Tuesday’s premiere of Deadliest Catch on Discovery.
What happened to you, Sig Hansen? In the season 15 return of the hit unscripted show Deadliest Catch, the captain of the Northwestern revealed to his crew that he suffered a “slight heart attack.” But he didn’t go into great detail about what happened, so we asked Hansen for more details and whether he really wants to keep crabbing. Here’s what the 53-year-old fisherman had to say.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So when did this all happen?
SIG HANSEN: In October, I had an episode in Seattle. I had another scare. Honesty what happened was, I was on an antibiotic, and I had an allergic reaction to it. My wife and I were driving and I started to swell up, my throat, hands, everything. I was choking out on the interstate. She called 911, I kept driving 100 miles an hour and went right to the ER. The nurse said I probably had less than 10 minutes. They gave me the EpiPen, and then my body went into a shock. I grabbed my chest and said, “I’m in pain.” They checked my blood levels and said, “Jesus Christ, you are having a heart attack.” The allergic reaction brought on a heart attack, so I went through that baloney again.
Wait, why were you on antibiotics?
I had a sinus infection in Norway. When flew in from Norway, my ear was in pain from a sinus infection. I asked the dentist to give me some antibiotics. Thank God I was on land. They got me to another hospital. They found out things weren’t so hunky-dory, so they put in a stent. And at the same time I got busted for smoking in the hospital. I snuck around and they had a bunch of people watching me. And they said, “You know, you aren’t supposed to do that.”
You were smoking in the hospital??
I was in the hallway smoking. They caught me. They chased me down the hall and they caught me. I looked like the biggest a—hole. They caught me red-handed. I never touched a cigarette after that. I’m thinking to myself, “How pathetic can you be? How much control does addiction have over me?” I never smoked ever again. Had I not been busted for smoking, I probably would still be smoking to this day.
Aren’t you worried about going back out to sea?
I’m still afraid to go on the boat. I don’t like it anymore. I don’t even remember this king crab season. I’m still trying to get over this last winter. I can’t get it out of my mind. Its scary. It’s been rally hard. I don’t know how much more I’ve got left in me.
Do you miss smoking?
What I found interesting is how when I’m fishing, I’m so in tune with the work. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be on the boat. It’s worse at home. I’m a bigger a—hole at home than I am on the boat, to my wife’s peril. On the boat you are always busy, always working. I was able to get through it [without a cigarette].
How do you feel about your daughter, Mandy, taking over the Northwestern?
Oh, she’s fine. She and her husband can take it and run. I don’t care. They are young, they got this, For me, I’m done. I got a foot out the door. My mentality is different from it was 20 years ago. You only get so many chances. I’m hoping it makes sense.
So then quit!
I can’t stop, that’s the problem. All of us are egomaniacs. You want to stop, but the ego portion won’t let me stop. There’s no way in hell. See what I mean? You are torn. You know that song “Torn Between Two Lovers”? That’s kind of what is going on here. Really what we need is a shrink. If we could get a goddamn shrink in Dutch Harbor, we’d be better off.
Deadliest Catch airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Discovery.