September 2006

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Tragic Reminders That Safety Must Be First

Safety: It’s stressed over and over again by all those who work and play on the water. And yet, the accidents, the injuries, the deaths keep occurring.

As a reminder that along with our Arizona water recreation comes responsibility, here are three tragedies, encapsulated, to make the point that "safety first" is not just a hollow admonition.

Carbon-Monoxide Tragedies Preventable

PHOENIX — Authorities have been investigating carbon-monoxide poisoning as the cause of the near drowning of two people at Lake Pleasant this summer. This has prompted the Arizona Game and Fish Department to deliver a warning about this dangerous boating hazard. Since 1998, four people in Arizona have died from carbon-monoxide-related watercraft incidents.

Carbon monoxide, or CO, is formed by incomplete combustion of any fuel, including gasoline, kerosene, wood, coal, oil, natural gas or charcoal. Sources on a boat include gasoline engines, generators, cooking ranges and space heaters.

Dangerous or deadly fumes can accumulate in confined spaces on boats, near stern ladders and under swimming platforms. Swimmers and water-skiers behind running boat engines face the greatest risk of exposure to exhaust fumes, which can build up to deadly levels. Boats emit up to 188 times the carbon monoxide that cars do.

Boaters should be aware of the threats posed by carbon monoxide and take the following steps to avoid them:

  • install a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector;
  • never operate watercraft at any speed or run idle under anchor while a person is occupying or holding onto the swim platform, swim deck, swim step or swim ladder;
  • schedule regular engine and exhaust system maintenance, and
  • educate all passengers about carbon monoxide poisoning.

"You do not have to be inside the boat to be at risk," Game and Fish Boating Law Administrator Kevin Bergersen said. "Boaters have died from exposure on the swim platforms of their boats and in other areas where carbon monoxide exhaust may accumulate or be emitted. Be aware of the early symptoms like irritated eyes, headache, nausea, weakness and dizziness."

To learn more about how you can prevent carbon-monoxide poisoning on recreational boats and other ways to stay safe, visit

Drowning Claims Life Of Two-Year Old Boy

PAGE, Ariz. – A two-year old boy, Ryan Adams, of Logan, Utah, drowned this summer on Lake Powell in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.  The boy and his family were camped with their houseboat in Warm Creek Bay. 

They had come aboard the houseboat to dry off after getting wet from rainstorms and to eat lunch. The boy had been wearing a life jacket earlier, but it was taken off so he could change into dry clothes.  In the ensuing moments, the boy disappeared.

The family immediately began searching the area.  They contacted the National Park Service using their marine band radio to request assistance. A Classic Lifeguard helicopter was dispatched to the scene and NPS rangers responded by boat.  Other boaters in the area heard the call and also came to the family’s aid.

When the boy surfaced in the water,  NPS rangers and paramedics from Classic Lifeguard began CPR.  He was flown to Page Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Man From Uzbekistan Dies After Near-Drowning Incident

PAGE, Ariz. – A young man from Uzbekistan died Aug. 12, from complications resulting from a near-drowning incident on Lake Powell in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area on July 21.

Komil Alimov was using a water trampoline near the Wahweap Main Launch Ramp when he jumped into the water and began struggling.  Alimov went underwater, and bystanders began diving down in an attempt to find him and pull him to shore. 

After at least 7-10 minutes, he was located by a Dutch visitor and brought onto shore, where others began performing CPR. National Park Service rangers responded and continued CPR. 

Alimov was flown by Classic Lifeguard to Page Hospital.  He was subsequently flown to
the Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George, Utah.  Alimov remained in the hospital in critical condition until his death.

Although the trampoline was marked, "Life Vest Required," Alimov was not wearing a life jacket at the time.  He reportedly did not know how to swim.

Alimov was 23 years old.  He was working in a seasonal position for the park concessioner, Aramark, in the food and beverage department at Lake Powell Resort.

This is the fourth fatality of the year at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.  Visitors are reminded that there are no lifeguards at swimming areas in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. 

Visitors should always remember to wear life jackets when they are swimming or onboard boats.