JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- A man and a cat were found dead last Friday in the cabin of a boat in Jeffersonville. A bystander found the two at Admiral's Anchor Marina and immediately called 911.
Fire officials said carbon monoxide was the cause of death for both. The situation could have become much worse, but the bystander who called first responders gave vital information.
"They were given the information that his engines had been at idle for awhile," said Sgt. Josh Thompson with Jeffersonville Fire Department. "That was a huge clue for us that carbon monoxide was a possibility."
There are many precautions boaters should take prior to stepping foot onto a boat. One of those is to make sure there is a carbon monoxide detector if there is an enclosed cabin area.
"CO in a confined space is extremely dangerous, but it's actually dangerous anywhere," Jeffersonville Fire Chief Eric Hedrick said. "There's a lot of dangers in the river on the water, but there are also dangers that occur in your cabin."
The other clue that made rescuers almost positive carbon monoxide filled the area was the fact that the cat was also dead. This triggered the rescuers to make witnesses get out of the area immediately.
"Often times, the would-be helpers can succumb to the CO as well," Hedrick said.
Hedrick said the CO reading in the man's cabin was 700 parts per million. He said a typical reading will go off when it reaches around 35 parts per million.
Thompson noted some symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, feeling drowsy or feeling lethargic. He said alcohol can enhance or mask these symptoms.
The owners of Admiral's Anchor said they take boating safety very seriously and want everyone to know the dangers of carbon monoxide. Officials urge everyone with a boat that has an enclosed area to get a carbon monoxide detector, but that is not the only way to prevent these problems.
"Running your blowers for the proper amount of time, which is at least two minutes prior to starting your engine, is a huge factor," Thompson said. "It allows fresh air to come in, but it exhausts any potential bad air that's in there."
The Jeffersonville Fire Department trains its employees annually to make sure they are ready to respond to these types of cases and all of the other problems that could occur on the water. Some of the things they practice in training are boats on fire, broken down boats and man overboard rescues.
The coroner and police have not yet responded to questions about this case. It's still under investigation.
Copyright 2018 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.