CLEVELAND — The three people who died in a boating incident off the shores of Lake Erie Wednesday night succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning, the Cuyahoga County medical examiner has ruled.
Seventy-six-year-old Frank A. Opaskar, 45-year-old Christopher Kedas, and 11-year-old Owen Kedas were all found unconscious in their boat as it circled around the waters near Edgewater Beach in Cleveland. Rescue crews said high levels of carbon monoxide were detected at the scene, but that alarms only started going off after members of the U.S. Coast Guard broke a window in order to get inside the craft.
"This is an incredibly sad and unfortunate accident," Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas P. Gilson said in a statement. "As we move forward through the summer boating season, be sure to check that your boat's exhaust system and components are functioning properly."
The elder Kedas as well as Opaskar were both pronounced dead at the scene, while Owen Kedas later died from his injuries at MetroHealth Medical Center. An investigation into the matter continues.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Jim Connor provided these tips to 3News' Brandon Simmons regarding safety on the water:
- 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.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The video below is from 2018