A mother warned other parents of tragic carbon monoxide after her nine-year-old son was killed in a boating accident.
Cassandra Free enjoyed a family day out with her three sons by a lake in Oklahoma, USA.
However, the tragedy occurred when their youngest son Andrew fell into the water and died.
Initially, they believed Andrew died of drowning in the freak accident, and since then they have learned that he was actually poisoned by carbon monoxide from the boat’s exhaust pipe.
On the day of his death, June 8th of that year, Andrew, who was a heavy swimmer, had a blood level of 72% carboxyhemoglobin, which a post-mortem found severely restricted the flow of oxygen to his brain.
In a heartbreaking post on Facebook, his mother Cassandra said she had no idea that her son was slowly getting poisoned during their “idyllic” day on the water.
She wrote how Andrew “was dying slowly and we didn’t even know it”.
In her post she added: “Boats that even move create an exhaust gas recirculation. That’s true. Exactly what I put in: carbon monoxide comes out of the stern of the boat and pulls back right into the stern area of the boat.
“I didn’t know that. Nobody I know knew that. It’s known as open air carbon monoxide poisoning.
“Our little Andy, our guy, was probably slowly dying that afternoon / evening and we didn’t know.
“He would have been tired. His head would have started to ache. Sounds like a long, physically demanding day with wakeboarding, wake-surfing and tubing like too much sun.”
Cassandra said Andrew may have been more susceptible to carbon monoxide than his two older brothers, who were taller than him and moved more around the boat during the day.
She described how the severe lack of oxygen in his brain meant that even if Andrew had made it off the boat, he would likely have died that night on his way, or at home, or in his sleep, reports news.com.au..
The devastated mother added: “We could have lost all three of our children that night.
“People have to understand that we are experienced boaters.
“My husband is almost 40 years old and I’ve been boating for almost 25 years. We had a friend with us who had been boating for about 30 years.
“None of us had ever heard of it. None of us had thought about it.
“It’s not widely known and we need to be more proactive in sharing these stories.
“Somebody needs to take a closer look at boat emissions. We put up road signs to let people know there might be rocks or a sharp turn falling. But there are no signs telling people to turn off their boats or warning people . ” “‘