National News

Carbon monoxide suspected cause of couple's boating death on Lake Lanier

Posted May 31, 2018 2:42 p.m. EDT

— Investigators say a couple from Gainesville, Julie Wright and Andrew Maronge, possibly died of carbon monoxide poisoning while on a boat anchored near Lake Lanier's Three Sisters Island.

The discovery was made at 8 p.m. on Monday after deputies were requested by family to do a welfare check on the couple because no one had spoken to them in a while.

Investigators say the victims were below deck when they were discovered. They say there are three ways that carbon monoxide tends to sneak into a boat.

1. When an exhaust pipe becomes blocked by floating debris or trash.

2. When exhaust pipes develop holes inside the engine compartment.

3. When boats are parked too close together with engines running and exhaust pipes pointed too close to open cabin windows (see diagram.)

Georgia Department of Natural Resources wouldn't say, Wednesday, which of these issues may have been present in the deaths of Wright and Maronge, but based on clues, we know the victims were alone because it took a rescue party to find them, so it probably wasn't exhaust from another boat.

Investigators hinted that their boat was not a new mode, which could suggest deteriorating exhaust pipes.

One thing is for certain, there was no working carbon monoxide detector in the place where they were sleeping. Experts advise putting one every enclosed space of a boat.

If anyone is suspicious of a possible life-threatening defect on their boat, Georgia Department of Natural Resource agents will do a free inspections. Call the office closest to you:

Region I - Acworth 770-529-2424

Region II - Gainesville 770-535-5499