Two Sailors Die from Accidental Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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Source: Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office

On Sunday, June 30, 2019, at approximately 8:00 a.m. a concerned family member contacted the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and requested that they be on the lookout for a white 34-foot Sea Ray Sundowner with two men aboard. The two friends, 53-year-old Gary Bishop and 49-year-old Christopher Avila, both of Arroyo Grande were transporting Bishop’s boat from the Channel Island Harbor in Ventura to Port San Luis Obispo. The last time family members had contact with the men was on Saturday, June 29, at approximately 6:30 p.m. Family members were concerned that they were not reachable and had not called to update their progress.

USCG personnel began searching for the missing vessel. Just before 8:00 p.m. on Sunday it was located by a USCG air crew approximately 20 miles Southwest of the Santa Barbara Harbor. Rescue personnel were lowered onto the vessel where it was discovered that the two men on board were deceased. The USCG towed the boat to t he Santa Barbara Harbor where the Sheriff’s Office took custody of the vessel and the two deceased persons to conduct a Coroner’s Investigation.

The Coroner’s Office positively identified the decedents and notified next of kin. The Coroner’s Office is conducting a death investigation to determine the circumstances surrounding their deaths. At this time there is no evidence to suggest foul play or a suicide. The cause and manner of death is pending additional investigation as well as toxicology and lab results.

On August 1, 2019, the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office Coroners Bureau concluded the investigation of this incident. It was determined by toxicology reports that the cause of death is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. The manner of death is determined to be accidental.

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yaya Aug 03, 2019 09:31 AM
Two Sailors Die from Accidental Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

So tragic...Last year I was poisoned by CO in my own apt in NY by a faulty gas stove. Luckily, it was summer & I had my window 1/4 open. Went to hospital, pumped O2 for an hour or 2. Recently, I’ve rented a house here n SB with a gas stove & heater. A bit nervous but hopefully it won’t happen again. Btw, my CO detector never went off even with new batteries.

Channelfog Aug 03, 2019 11:31 AM
Two Sailors Die from Accidental Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Scary that your CO monitor did not alert. The sensor has a limited lifespan and past that new batteries will not help. Get a new CO monitor! The new detectors take lifespan into account and come with a non-replaceable battery; when the battery finally dies, it is time for a new monitor. The best have a digital readout of current and highest recorded CO levels. This allows one to see a potential problem at below alarm thresholds.

Yeti Aug 02, 2019 08:40 PM
Two Sailors Die from Accidental Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

It's hard to imagine that CO poisoning could be the cause. They were heading west through the channel head into the wind. Engine and exhaust is behind them, and thus fumes blowing away from them, not towards them.. there is definitely more to this story. It would be interesting to hear the extenuating circumstances for educational purposes.

Channelfog Aug 03, 2019 07:56 AM
Two Sailors Die from Accidental Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Below deck, it may have been a faulty catalytic cabin heater or perhaps they had the stove burning for heat. At any rate ventilation and a CO monitor would have made the difference. We heat with wood stoves on the farm and in the house in town and have working CO detectors.Many of these detectors have a digital readout so that one can understand the severity of the issue and perhaps note climbing CO levels before the alarm sounds. As previously stated:cheap insurance. Condolences to the families.

tagdes Aug 02, 2019 09:18 PM
Two Sailors Die from Accidental Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Before you get too carried away with your conspiracy theory check the post now that Ms. Hoover's gone. Sea Ray doesn't make sailboats and at 34' was likely a Sundancer.. So yes, both below deck, CO poisoning highly likely.

Bug Girl Aug 02, 2019 02:36 PM
Two Sailors Die from Accidental Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

What a tragedy. I hope their families find peace. I wonder if it was a faulty generator? Or a leak in the engine, if they weren't actually sailing, but using the motor to go up the coast? What a bummer. Do boats with engines usually have CO monitors?

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