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Two found dead on houseboat, carbon monoxide suspected

Two people were found dead early Friday morning on a houseboat in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, possible victims of carbon monoxide poisoning, a San Joaquin County sheriff’s deputy said Sunday.

The two-level houseboat was anchored in the Middle River near Ski Beach, about four miles east of Discovery Bay and a mile and a half north of state Highway 4, about 4 a.m. Friday when a woman who had been sleeping on the upper level went downstairs to use the restroom. She then saw a man and woman dead, said San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Deputy Andrea Lopez. Neither the names of the victims, nor their ages or their relationship to one another, were available Sunday, Lopez said. The three were apparently the only people on the houseboat, she said.

The woman called 911, and U.S. Coast Guard and area firefighter paramedics responded. The emergency responders were wearing carbon monoxide detectors, Lopez said, which indicated high levels of the gas on the lower level of the boat.

On many houseboats with a “swim platform” extending from the rear of the boat, exhaust gases from the boats’ engines can collect in the space under that platform. That exhaust usually contains high concentrations of carbon monoxide.

Lopez said:

“I know our boating deputies have seen this before, and encourage boaters to sleep in well-ventilated areas and to use (carbon monoxide) detectors.”

Foul play is not suspected, Lopez said, but the investigation is continuing.

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