Deaths of couple killed by carbon monoxide poisoning on boat at Wroxham Broad were ‘totally avoidable’, inquest hears

Love for Lydia, the boat on which two people and their dog were found dead on the Broads. Picture: M

Love for Lydia, the boat on which two people and their dog were found dead on the Broads. Picture: Marine Accident Investigation Branch - Credit: Archant

An inquest has been held into the 'extremely sad and totally avoidable' deaths of a couple who died after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning on their boat.

Police, fire and rescue, and the coastguard at the boat on Wroxham Island on the River Bure where tw

Police, fire and rescue, and the coastguard at the boat on Wroxham Island on the River Bure where two people and a dog died. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Copyright: Archant - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Alan Frost and Tina Wilkins, along with their dog, were found in June last year aboard Love for Lydia, which was moored by Wroxham Island, on Wroxham Broad.

The inquest, held on Thursday at Norfolk coroner's court in Norwich, heard that the Essex couple were discovered by Adrian Cook, who sells ice-cream from his boat on the waterways.

In a statement read aloud at the inquest, he said he spotted the boat moored up two days in a row, but 'didn't think too much of it'.

It was on the third day that, with the mooring only permitting boats to stop for 24 hours, he decided to take a closer look.

Police, fire and rescue, and the coastguard at the boat on Wroxham Island on the River Bure where tw

Police, fire and rescue, and the coastguard at the boat on Wroxham Island on the River Bure where two people and a dog died. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016


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'I banged with my hand on the back of the boat and shouted 'ice cream', but no-one appeared,' he said.

He craned to peer into the boat, which had part of its back canopy open, and said he could see someone laying down, but they 'didn't flinch' when he shouted.

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He said: 'I was worried now about what was in the boat.'

Joined by another man, the pair ventured onto the boat and, after seeing the couple, called the emergency services.

Police, fire and rescue, and the coastguard at the boat on Wroxham Island on the River Bure where tw

Police, fire and rescue, and the coastguard at the boat on Wroxham Island on the River Bure where two people and a dog died. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

A Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) report has since suggested the couple were overcome by exhaust fumes from the boat's engine, which may have been running to charge the batteries.

Thursday's inquest heard that Mr Frost had bought the boat in 2016, and it was their first holiday on board.

A pre-purchase check noted that the boat did not have a carbon monoxide alarm, but installing one was not a recommendation.

The inquest heard how the cabin was not ventilated property, and that carbon monoxide levels reached 2,000 parts per million (PPM) in the helm in 39 seconds.

Thirty-five PPM is considered a permissible exposure level.

The MAIB has called for greater awareness of carbon monoxide dangers for leisure boaters.

Area coroner Yvonne Blake described the couple's deaths as 'extremely sad and totally avoidable' and recorded a narrative conclusion.

'They died as a result of lethal carbon monoxide levels within the boat,' she said.

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