Craig Tester last night revealed that he will be leaving The Curse of Oak Island for the rest of the season following his son Drake’s tragic death.
The businessman said on the History show that he would not be returning to the island “this year” so he could return home to Travis City, Michigan, to be with his wife.
The emotional moment came towards the end of the episode as the Oak Island team decided what steps next to take in their hunt for treasure on the island off Nova Scotia.
When asked for his opinion, Craig — the business partner of fellow treasure hunter Marty Lagina — said: “It’s up to you Rick, and to the other guys around this table, because I’m…I mean, when I’m headed out of here I’m probably not coming back this year. I don’t want to be here and say ‘hey drill here’ and then not be here to support you guys.”
It is not known whether Craig will return to the show in the future. Craig’s son Drake — the brother of Jack Begley — tragically passed away at the age of 16 on March 26, 2017, as the result of a seizure disorder which he’d had since birth.
He was well known to fans after previously appearing on the show with his dad in Season 3. Craig said in an interview with producers on last night’s episode that returning to Oak Island had helped take his “focus off losing Drake”.
He added: “I think of him every day — I think of him always out here. I wish he could be here helping us, so it’s been a tough year. It’s time for me to head on home and help my wife who’s struggling through this too. So I’m appreciative for all the guys and I’m appreciative for Oak Island. But I think it’s done for me.”
Marty said in a separate interview: “It’s got to be bitter-sweet for Craig out here. I don’t know what’s going on inside him, I can only guess. I mean this is painful stuff, so Craig’s suffering a lot, and he’s grieving. Look, whatever he wants. Whatever Craig wants, whatever Craig feels is best for him, I’m not going to do anything except say ‘I’ll support whatever decision you make’.”
In a poignant tribute to Drake, the team decided that the final borehole they are set to drill this season at what they believe is the location of the island’s legendary Money Pit would be named after him.
The idea was suggested by his brother Jack. He said: “We asked to name the hole after Drake and so we decided to just use his initials — DMT — and it meant a lot to me. Maybe this is the hole that finds it all, but it’s good to know that my brother’s a part of this island forever now.”
Last night’s episode of The Curse of Oak Island saw the team frustrated after their most promising dig site, known as H-8, failed to bring up anything of major significance despite many tantalizing clues earlier in the season that it would.
However, the caisson being drilled down into the area entered an apparent void — prompting speculation that the so-called Chappell Vault they have been looking for may have been pushed ahead of it, or that they may have entered an area where the Money Pit previously collapsed.
The Curse of Oak Island airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on History.