Sunday morning apparently died from fumes of carbon monoxide from the boat's engine.
According to a Moultrie County coroner's report, Harold and Katana Ponder of Hammond
went to the Findlay marina and spent Saturday night on their boat at Lake Shelbyville. The
couple left both the boat's engine and air-conditioning unit running throughout the night,
the report said.
By 2 a.m. Sunday, Katana Ponder was not feeling well, according to the report, and she
noticed that her husband was not responsive. When Katana Ponder couldn't get the boat
started, she radioed for help.
Moultrie County sheriff's deputies, the Findlay Fire Department and the Sullivan paramedic
unit arrived at the scene a few minutes later.
The responders were also unable to get the boat started, and Harold Ponder remained
Moultrie County Coroner Lynn Reed arrived on the boat by 3:15 a.m. and pronounced Mr.
Ponder dead at the scene at 3:45 a.m. The Ponders were taken to Shelby Memorial Hospital
in Shelbyville by ambulance.
While emergency personnel treated Katana Ponder for a high level of carbon monoxide,
Reed said an autopsy was completed on Mr. Ponder's body at the hospital.
While the results of the autopsy won't be known for about three weeks, Reed said it
appeared that Mr. Ponder died from exposure to a high amount of carbon monoxide.
"Mr. Ponder had an enlarged heart and heart disease, so a large concentration of carbon
monoxide would be fatal to him," Reed said. "Both the boat and air conditioner were running,
adding to the carbon monoxide. We did a test on the boat two hours later and the
carbon monoxide concentration was at 550 parts per million and still rising when we shut
the machine off."
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous, colorless, odorless gas. According to the Occupational
Safety and Health Administration Web site, factory workers are prohibited from being
exposed to more than 50 parts per million of carbon monoxide for eight hours or more.
A hospital spokeswoman said on Monday afternoon that Katana Ponder had been released
from the hospital.
Mr. Ponder was a former member of the Atwood-Hammond school board. Funeral arrangements
appear on A-4.