Carbon Monoxide shuts down channel
LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. - Lake Havasu City officials ordered closures of the London Bridge Channel when monitors detected dangerous levels of carbon monoxide on two occasions over the Memorial Holiday weekend.
The first closure was implemented Saturday afternoon as boats clogged the channel, a popular gathering point for water recreation enthusiasts.
``We had a sudden spike in the carbon monoxide readings across the channel so we exercised a closure of the channel," said Lake Havasu City spokesman Charlie Cassens. He explained no boats were allowed to enter the channel during the ninety minute closure, though boats were allowed to exit by choice.
``The CO (carbon monoxide) readings immediately began to fall and by the second reading, in about an hour and a half, we were able to open the channel without incident," Cassens said.
Another closure was implemented early Sunday evening when winds died down, allowing carbon monoxide to accumulate in the channel. ``This time it took about two hours and 40 minutes to bring the readings back within acceptable levels where we were able to reopen the channel," Cassens said.
Cassens said no carbon monoxide poisonings were reported over the holiday weekend. Law enforcement agencies that patrolled the lake said
there were no serious injury boating accidents or fatalities though hundreds of citations and arrests are reported for offenses ranging from minor consumption of alcohol to indecent exposure.
Public relations efforts and air quality monitors apparently helped safeguard the public from carbon monoxide related danger.
``We have five fixed monitors which are transmitter radio-sized instruments that are placed in steel boxes at five fixed locations in the channel in a kind of zig-zagged configuration," Cassens said.
He said a sixth portable monitor is also used.
Cassens explained readings are taken periodically and they are averaged to develop a score for the mix of monitors. Closures and other measures can be implemented when readings indicate unsafe levels of carbon monoxide in the air.
Stats released from law enforcement agencies
COLORADO RIVER - Across the holiday weekend, the River Watch Task Force assembled by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Marine Enforcement Unit was a great success. Increased boat patrols on the Colorado River and Lake Havasu have been a staple over the last 20 years during increased traffic times like Memorial Day weekend. The main focus - limit reckless operation and boating under the influence. This year, the task force made 56 arrests and investigated 4 boating accidents. 52 of the arrests were for boating under the influence. The River Watch Task Force continues their efforts to ensure a safe environment for the boating public along the Colorado River.
Similarly, the Mohave County Sheriffs Office released their statistics for the Memorial Day weekend indicating safe waterways. No fatalities or serious boating accidents were reported over the 72-hour period to the MCSO. During their patrol, they cited 22 for operating under the influence, 14 for minor consumption, and 78 were cited for safety violations. Warnings were also given to numerous boaters for safety issues and the MCSO says if you have any questions regarding how to properly equip your boat for safety concerns, call them at 753-0753.
More than three times as many citations were issued over the holiday weekend in Bullhead City this year than in 2003. However, the number of calls and arrests were quite similar to last year. According to numbers released Tuesday by Bullhead City Police, 9-1-1 dispatch received 672 calls between Friday and Monday. 29 arrests were made, up slightly from 25 last year. The biggest difference between this year and last lies in the citations though, as Bullhead City Police issued 128 compared to 39 in 2003. One other disturbing trend from the holiday weekend showed 6 watercraft accidents, 4 more than were reported the previous year.