Silent Killers: Death Boats

A Vacation Tragedy

For Ken and Bambi Lynn Dixey and their four boys, summer vacation has always meant houseboating on Lake Powell in southern Utah. Ken, a dentist living outside of Denver, co-owned a share of a 55-foot Stardust Cruiser, a common craft on Lake Powell and other large lakes around the country.

The Dixeys were very experienced boaters and always assumed that their family was as safe on their houseboat as in their own backyard.

But on the night of August 2, the Dixeys' youngest boys, Dillon, 11, and Logan, 8, went for a last swim before bed off the back of the boat. Five minutes later, they were both dead from carbon monoxide poisoning.

They were the victims of carbon monoxide poisoning, a result of a design defect that traps the colorless, odorless exhaust from the onboard generator. There have been nine deaths and 102 near-deaths as a result of these toxic emissions in this area alone. Now, through the efforts of the Dixeys and a team of experts around the country, the boating industry is taking action to eliminate the design. Authorities also caution that exposure to fumes from generators of boats anywhere can put a person at risk.

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