St. Paul, MN – Minnesota lawmakers moved quickly on Tuesday to require carbon monoxide detectors on boats with enclosed spaces.
Thats after a 7-year-old girl died last year from carbon monoxide poisoning during a family outing on Lake Minnetonka.
Pat Kessler was at the Capitol, where the little girls family is calling for tougher laws. Sophia Baechlers mother and father spent Tuesday calling for a change in Minnesota boat laws that could have saved their child.
The Baechler familys Sunday boat ride on Lake Minnetonka turned deadly last October after an undetected carbon monoxide leak poisoned their daughter Sophia.
The next thing I heard was Ben screaming Sophia! and carrying our lifeless baby girl, Courtney Baechler said.
Sophias mother, Dr. Courtney Baechler, told a state Senate committee Sophia laid down in the lower cabin after complaining of a headache. She and her husband didnt know a hole in an exhaust pipe was filling the space with carbon monoxide.
He found her on the floor of the bedroom. I remember looking at her in shock, just waiting for her to wake up. Ben started screaming Its carbon monoxide! I know it!’ Courtney said.
Carbon monoxide is odorless and tasteless, but extremely toxic. There were 1,200 carbon monoxide poisonings nationwide last year, and 500 deaths.
And in Minnesota, five percent of carbon monoxide poisonings are on boats.
A bill named for Sophia would require all Minnesota boats with enclosed spaces to have a carbon monoxide detector. And the state DNR will include with all boat registrations information about engine exhaust.
In the land of 10,000 lakes, we should do all we can to ensure that all Minnesota families are safe on our lakes, Courtney said.
Most new boats already have carbon monoxide detectors. But the Baechlers are hoping to get the $20 devices on thousands of older Minnesota boats with cabins that dont.
For a $20 carbon monoxide detector, my beautiful girl would be here. Instead I wake up every day with the nightmare that is now my reality that she is gone, Courtney said.