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Leaking gas killed two aboard boat in Whitby Harbour
10:08am Friday 20th June 2014 in News
A SEA captain’s toothache led to a carbon monoxide tragedy which killed him and his crew mate in their bunks, an inquest at Scarborough town hall heard yesterday.
Skipper Mark Arries, 26, lit the grill on a gas cooker in the wheel house just because he thought the warmth would ease the pain in his mouth from a bad tooth, the hearing was told.
Mr Arries then went below decks and left the cooker on to take the chill off the January night while he and crewmate Edward Idle, 21, were moored in Whitby harbour on board The Eshcol.
Mr Arries, from Blyth, and Mr Idle, 21, from Amble, both Northumberland, died in their sleep from carbon monoxide poisoning, the hearing at Scarborough Town Hall was told.
A jury was told Mr Arries had complained he couldn’t get warm.
Crewmate Thomas Berry, of Salisbury Street, Scarborough, was the only one spared after deciding to go home to see his girlfriend.
The tragedy was discovered at 9am when owner’s son Jake Davies, then 15, working on an adjacent boat, woke to see no signs of life on the Eshcol.
He and a colleague tried banging on the locked up wheel house before forcing the wheel house door open.
Vessel owner Tim Bowman Davies, from Milford Haven, said he intended to replace the cooker on the ten-year-old boat in a refit this summer.
But the vessel had been inspected tow or three times and given a clean bill of health, the hearing was told.
A jury concluded the deaths were cases of misadventure. Coroner Michael Oakley is to write to coastguards, calling for the rules to be tightened on sleeping on boats, for carbon monoxide detectors to be compulsory for fishing vessels, and checks on cookers to be part of safety inspections.