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Open air death found to be from carbon monoxide

by Sail-World Cruising round-up on 19 Jul 2013
CO symptoms SW
If you thought that carbon monoxide poisoning could only occur in enclosed spaces, think again. It's colourless and odourless and deadly, and the death of a boater in Utah, United States, last month has been found to have been caused by carbon monoxide poisononing, even though he was in the continually in the open air on the day of the incident.

22-year-old Lucas Allyn died after boating at Bear Lake in Utah when he was overcome by carbon monoxide. According to the local news outlet, Allyn spent a good part of the day at the rear of a boat — near its exhaust — hoisting both skiers and swimmers out of the water.

In fact safety officials say carbon monoxide poisoning likely contributed to more drowning deaths over the past decades than imagined.

'It’s a problem people don’t recognize,' Edwin Lyngar, a boating safety educator with the Nevada Department of Wildlife, said Friday. 'People will start feeling nauseous and think they’re sea sick when they actually have mild carbon monoxide poisoning.'

'It happened in the open air. You would think it unbelievable until you think about how the gases recirculate near the back of the boat,' Dr. Robert Baron, a medical adviser for Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, told the newspaper.

Lyngar added that carbon monoxide poisoning while boating 'is far more common than we thought.'

He pointed to the ban on 'teak surfing,' where people hold onto a swim platform at the back of a dinghy or speedboat and are pulled through the water. They either hold onto the platforms, which are near exhaust systems, or they ride a flotation device just behind the outboard..

'People used to do that for fun,' he said. 'There were several fatalities nationwide.' It is now illegal in many states of the USA.
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