CLEVELAND — Two men and a child are dead after an incident on Lake Erie where a boat had to be towed in by the United States Coast Guard Wednesday evening, according to Cleveland police.
Around 7:30 p.m., authorities responded to the 1000 block of East 9th Street at the Coast United States Coast Guard Station for three individuals found unresponsive on a boat.
The Coast Guard located the boat and towed it to the Coast Guard Station from approximately two miles out from shore.
Cleveland police said a 76-year-old man and a 40-year-old man on the boat were pronounced dead at the scene.
An 11-year-old boy was transported to MetroHealth Medical Center in critical condition but was later pronounced dead.
Cleveland Fire said all three individuals were in full arrest when located and CPR was administered.
On Thursday morning, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner identified the victims as:
- Frank A. Opaskar, 76, of Avon Lake
- Christopher Kedas, 45, or Huron
- Owen Kedas, 11, of Huron
Authorities said that carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected.
Opaskar's family said Thursday that the 76 year-old was in the process of trading-in the 33 foot Chris-Craft boat and that it was heading from Eastlake to the boat dealership when the incident occurred.
"He was so happy," said Opaskar's wife Gail Soinski Opaskar. "I was standing on the gas dock after the filled-up and he was so happy. I was like 'wow."
She said her husband battled health problems, but wanted to be a part of the boat's final trip.
"He loved the boat so much and he kind of begged us to the last couple of days to be able to on the boat for one last ride while Chris took it away," said Opaskar's daughter, Amanda Opaskar.
His wife said her husband texted around 4pm and said they were passing downtown Cleveland.
She said Kedes was the salesman handling the trade-in.
She didn't realize anything was wrong until a strange voice answered her husband's phone.
"As we were calling the cell phones, a paramedic picked up my dad's phone and told us there had been an accident and we needed to go to MetroHealth hospital," said Amanda Opaskar.
When they arrived, Opaskar learned her father, a retired pediatrician, was dead.
"It's hard because he was so happy," said Amanda Opaskar. "That's the best I'd seen him in awhile and it's so hard to have him gone this way."
Jordan Schultz was fishing with two friends on Lake Erie, and called the Coast Guard and took video with his cellphone, as the boat was speeding toward his boat, seemingly out-of-control.
“I was fishing, and we were like, we just start honking the horn and the guy couldn’t see us because his bow was so high up in the air," Schultz said. "And after that, we just turned around and looked and we were like oh my God I don’t think anybody is at the wheel.”
“We got the binoculars out after we noticed there was nobody at the wheel, and it looked like a guy was just slumped over.”
The Cuyahoga Medical Examiner's Office will determine the cause of death.
The incident remains under investigation.
The Opaskar family said Thursday there were no signs of mechanical problems with the boat when they took it out last weekend.
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