Mother and daughter 'killed by fumes' on Lake Windermere

Kelly Webster, 36, and her ten-year-old daughter Lauren Thornton died yesterday after suffering breathing difficulties on a private boat

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The Independent Online

A faulty generator has been blamed for the death of a woman and 10-year-old girl, who died from a suspected carbon monoxide poisoning after suffering breathing difficulties on a private boat on Lake Winderemere yesterday.

The pair were named today as Kelly Webster, 36, and her daughter Lauren Thornton, both from Leyland in Lancashire.

A police spokesman said: "Cumbria Police were alerted to Lake Windermere by the ambulance service after it was reported that three people on a privately-owned boat were having serious breathing difficulties.

"On arrival, Mrs Webster and her daughter, Lauren, were being treated by paramedics and were airlifted to Royal Lancaster Infirmary, where they tragically died.

"A man, 39, from Leyland, who was also on the boat, remains in Royal Lancaster Infirmary receiving treatment."

The spokesman added: "Police are not treating the deaths as suspicious, and it is suspected that the deaths were caused by some form of gas poisoning. Inquiries continue to be conducted by officers on behalf of the coroner."

Eyewitnesses reported seeing firefighters entering the boat wearing breathing masks.

Tony Rothwell, who runs the Bowness Bay marina, told the Daily Telegraph that he was told by lake wardens that the boat had been fitted with a faulty generator.

The generator was connected to a fan heater, which is thought to have been turned on. Temperatures around the Lake District remained only just above freezing throughout the day.

Mr Rothwell said: "It was an amateur job. The boat had been fitted with a generator and the exhaust has leaked. It had been a very cold day and the fan heater was connected to the generator. It is a terrible tragedy."

Police said they were as yet unable to confirm reports that the deaths were a direct result of carbon monoxide poisoning.

North West Ambulance Service said the pair were found on a boat tied to a public jetty in Bowness.

Police said they were unable to confirm carbon monoxide poisoning yet.

A statement said: “Police are currently investigating the circumstances of this tragic incident and trying to establish the full facts about what has happened. The coroner has been informed.”

A local woman, who did not want to be named, said she understood the victims were overcome by carbon monoxide fumes from the exhaust of the boat.

The unfolding incident was witnessed by businessman and television personality Duncan Bannatyne, who remarked on the police and ambulance activity to his followers on Twitter.

The Dragon's Den star later posted a photograph of the scene, saying: "Tragic accident over there I am afraid."

The Windermere Lake Wardens said they could not comment.

Lake Windermere is the largest natural lake in England. Boating is very popular and there are four large boating clubs around the lake.