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3 victims identified, including 11-year-old boy, after fatal boating incident on Lake Erie

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources report that high levels of carbon monoxide were detected before the boat was towed to shore.

CLEVELAND — Authorities say the deaths of two men and a 11-year-old boy found in a boat on Lake Erie may have been caused by carbon monoxide poisoning.    

According to the Cleveland Division of Police, officers were dispatched to the U.S. Coast Guard Station on East 9th Street around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday after officials had pulled three unresponsive individuals from the water..

Two adult males, ages 76 and 45, were pronounced deceased by officials at the scene, while a 11-year-old boy was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center after EMS administered lifesaving measures. Despite the measures, the boy was later pronounced deceased at the hospital. 

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office has identified the three victims as 76-year-old Frank Opaskar of Avon Lake, 45-year-old Christopher Kedas of Huron, and 11-year-old Owen Kedas of Huron.

A Coast Guard Great Lakes official tells 3News that personnel from Station Cleveland Harbor were sent out on the water beginning around 6 p.m. for reports of a boat circling on Lake Erie. Inside of the boat, Coast Guard officials found the three victims unconscious. 

Members of the Coast Guard crew broke a window on the boat and put the gear into neutral. After breaking the window, the Coast Guard's dangerous gasses alarm system began going off. 

The boat was towed back to Station Cleveland Harbor by the Coast Guard and EMS was waiting on shore to provide medical assistance. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources reports that high levels of carbon monoxide were detected before the boat was towed to shore.

Officials tell 3News that the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office (CCMEO) will determine the cause of death and that the matter remains under investigation.

Speaking to 3News' Brandon Simmons, Petty Officer Jim Connor of the U.S. Coast Guard stressed the importance of and provided the following tips for boater safety:

  • Prior to going out on any boat or any vehicle, you should always do a vehicle safety check. You can have them done at the coast guard auxiliary.
  • Check your monitors, make sure the batteries are good by testing them.
  • Just because you’re out in the open environment doesn’t mean it cannot affect you. Sitting idle, anything to that effect, being too close to the exhaust can all be factors.
  • Boating is fun, but is also dangerous. You should make sure you’re aware that there are dangerous possibilities when you go out on the water.
  • You should have a routine every time you going out on the water. Get used to doing it.
  • Let somebody know when you’re going to go out and when you’re coming back. That way if you are gone longer, you can let authorities know if somebody is missing in your family.
  • Just like your home, you should have a carbon monoxide tester in your boat. It’s battery-operated and, again, you want to test it every time you get ready to go back out.
  • Carbon monoxide out on the water is not a common thing.

The Associated Press contributed to this story 


Editor's note: The video in the player above is from a story published in June 2018.

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