WDAY: The News Leader

Published September 04, 2013, 07:21 PM

Lake of the Woods carbon monoxide boating accident could have been prevented

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - We are learning more tonight about the tragedy on Lake of the Woods that claimed the lives of two fishermen---and hospitalized another.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - We are learning more tonight about the tragedy on Lake of the Woods that claimed the lives of two fishermen and hospitalized another.

Christopher Klick continues to recover at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks from carbon monoxide poisoning. His two friends died while in a boat on the Big Lake. All are from the Twin Cities.

There are a lot of people today bewildered and confused at how the three men fishing could be exposed to carbon monoxide while on a big body of water like Lake of the Woods. But now we learn that the anglers were in an enclosed boat, and were experiencing problems with the in-board's exhaust system.

Pat Kovash – Kovash Marine: “If they get hot or they get old and cracked, they can develop holes. They can actually push fumes into your bilge area, which, in a cutty cabin could push them forward. This unit has already had them replaced.”

Pat Kovash says any kind of problem with an inboard and its exhaust system can be potentially dangerous.

Pat Kovash: “The motor is inside and a hollow floor that runs all the way through, so if you develop an exhaust leak it’s not very common to see carbon monoxide poisoning, but it’s definitely something that could happen.”

The issue is leaks or problems with the exhaust system may have been going on for some time, and by the time anglers did figure it out, it was too late.

Paul Kovash: “It can work all the way up the sides of the deck if they were sleeping in the cutty cabin. If they had it closed or not vented properly, it can cause someone to die.”

The investigation has not revealed exactly what happened, but it is known the cover the inboard was missing when the boat with the men was found - two of them dead from carbon monoxide, another angler alive but poisoned.

The deadly gas can be sneaky. Odorless, colorless and it slowly can poison its victims - sometimes mimicking food poisoning or the flu.

Ryan Muchow – Moorhead Fire Department: “What they say is, incomplete combustion of an engine that is one of the main causes of an incomplete burning process. You need adequate ventilation.”

The best advice? Before turning on the boat next spring, have the exhaust system checked. Peace of mind while on the lake

The Minnesota BCA is investigating the deaths of the two Twin Cities men.