Mom Shares Warning After Son, 9, Dies Of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning On Lake Trip

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What should’ve been a perfect boating trip to Lake Eufaula, Oklahoma’s largest lake, turned out to be a tragedy for one family from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Mom of three, Cassandra Free, warned of the dangers from open-air carbon monoxide poisoning in a heart-wrenching Facebook post after her youngest son, Andrew Brady, 9, fell unconscious into the lake. Initially reported by news outlets to be a death by drowning, it was later revealed that carbon monoxide poisoning was the actual cause of death. Andrew’s mother said she had no idea this could ever happen on a boat. (1, 2)

The family had been enjoying a day of water sports on the lake such as tubing, wakeboarding, and wakesurfing. Slowly making their way back to dock at the end of a long, tiring day, Cassandra Free stated Andrew spent most of his day at the back of the boat. This made him more vulnerable as carbon monoxide exits the rear of the boat and drafts directly back into the area where he would’ve been sitting. 

She recalled, “Andy, he crawled onto the back of the boat and curled up in a ball. We were packing and cleaning up and the kids are groaning that they don’t feel good, just want to take a nap. My husband got Blake, my middle son, up. When he tried to get Andy, the boat just rocked and Andy rolled off. My husband, he was like, ‘What the heck? They were able to recover him but he never breathed another breath. They did CPR forever, it seemed before emergency services came. The doctors said there is zero brain activity. Even if they got a single breath, there would have been no quality of life.” (2)

Carbon Monoxide Dangers 

Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen when it enters your bloodstream and mixes with part of red blood cells that carry oxygen around your body. When this happens, the blood is no longer able to carry oxygen, and this lack of oxygen causes the body’s cells and tissue to fail and die. (3)

Backseat riders are especially vulnerable at low speeds in long no-wake zones like the one the family had to cross to return to the docks. According to the US Coast Guard, carbon monoxide can harm or kill you inside or outside your boat. (4)

  • Symptoms are similar to sea-sickness or alcohol intoxication.
  • Can affect you whether you are moored, anchored, or underway. 
  • Can make you sick in seconds and in high enough concentrations, even a few breaths can be fatal.
  • Carbon monoxide is a compound you cannot see, smell, or taste. 

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) since August 2000 over 800 boating-related poisonings in 35 states have been identified with over 140 resulting in death. 200 of these poisonings have been attributed to generator exhaust emissions. (5)

Andrew’s two brothers also had acute levels of carbon monoxide poisoning and were both treated in the hospital that evening. Sadly for Andrew, his levels were 72 carboxyhemoglobin. This meant 72 percent of his blood could not carry oxygen to his brain. Even if he received immediate medical attention it would not have prevented his death. Cassandra hopes that in telling Andy’s story, it will prevent other parents from suffering the same way they have.

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About Sara Ding

Sara Ding is the founder of She is a certified Wellness Health Coach, Nutritional Consultant and a Detox Specialist. She helps busy men and women identify their health issues at the root cause, in order to eliminate the problems for optimum physical/mental health and wellbeing.


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