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9 died in past 6 years at Lake Powell; carbon monoxide blamed for these deaths
By Maureen West
The Arizona Republic 
November 29, 2000

Nine deaths in six years have been attributed to carbon monoxide from boats at Lake Powell.

Seven of the deaths occurred on or near houseboats:

  • August 2000: Dillon and Logan Dixey, ages 8 and 11, of Parker, Colo., jumped into the lake to cool off after dinner. They were attracted to the cavelike space under the swim deck where carbon monoxide was emitted, a space that investigators now call the “death zone.” Dillon was seen flailing in the water, but his older brother thought he was goofing off. Both boys sunk to the bottom of the lake.

  • May 1999: Timothy Hugh Crawford, 35, of Colorado, was clearing a rope from a prop. He was working in the area near the death zone. He was exposed to the carbon monoxide area for five minutes.

  • August 1998: Scott Elizondo, 37, of Arvada, Colo., was trying to clear a rope from near a prop. He was exposed to carbon monoxide for five to 10 minutes.

  • August 1998: John Darby, 56, of Riverside, Calif., dived to retrieve a lost oil cap. He went into the death zone a couple of times to get air. He never came back up.

  • September 1996: Robin Lee Josephson, 41, of Salt Lake City, was reading a book inside the houseboat cabin. She then went outside and sat at the back of the boat by the swim deck, over the death zone. Friends later found her drowned.

  • August 1994: Michael D. Walker Jr., 12, of Payson, Utah, was last seen swimming near the end of the boat. He went under the boat into the death zone and was heard to say that it was warm there.

In addition, two other deaths occurred in or near boats other than houseboats.

In both of these cases, a draft inherent on rear decks and swim platforms that can suck the fumes into either an enclosed or open sitting area:

  • July 1995: Brandie Lee Harding, 16, of Orange, Calif., was riding as a passenger in a ski boat when she was exposed to carbon monoxide from the boat motor.

  • May 1995: Joseph Premeau, 66, of Page, died while his enclosed canvas cabin cruiser was being towed.

    Copyright 2000, The Arizona Republic. All rights reserved. This article graciously provided courtesy of The Arizona Republic.