'Alaskan Steel Men' packs danger, drama: 'We make a mistake, people die'

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By Ree Hines

Viewers who enjoy watching the big risks Alaska's crabbers encounter on Discovery's "Deadliest Catch" or the frightening moves on History's "Ice Road Truckers" will soon have another reality TV series to turn to for nail-biting arctic action.

"Alaskan Steel Men" will follow master welder Dennis Butts and his crew of emergency response torch-holders as they face major hazards in the unforgiving conditions. A sneak peek Discovery is sharing exclusively with TODAY.com offers a closer look at what's to come.

"Kodiak's a harsh environment," Butts explains in the clip. "No matter how tough you are, Mother Nature's tougher. Work ain't easy and it sure as hell ain't safe. We're talking about boats going to the bottom of the ocean. We make a mistake, people die."

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Which is why his crew is made of up men he calls the "best of the best" — from his rising star, Cooper; to his right hand, Scottie; to "the brains of the operation," George. As for diver Duke, Butts thinks he's crazy to sink into the icy waters with killer whales, but adds, "That's my kind of crazy."

But not everyone on the teams inspires such high praise from the boss. Greenhorns Dean and Jameson are still learning the ropes. Their fate has yet to be determined.

"You can't cut it, you can't stay on my crew," Butts insists.

In that case, good luck to Dean, who, in a press release for the show, was described as someone who "genuinely wants to be a welder but seems more prone to lighting himself on fire." As the sneak peek proves, there's a truth to that claim.

See just how dangerous the job is when "Alaskan Steel Men" premieres Friday at 10 p.m. on Discovery Channel.