Two Boaters Found Dead on Chickamauga Lake

Two boaters were found dead on Chickamauga Lake Monday of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning. Their boat was found in a cove near River Mile Marker 477, near Patten Island.

Two boaters and their pet were pronounced dead at the scene of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning on Chickamauga Lake Monday, according to a news release from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

A spokesperson said Kristy D. James and Mike L. Richardson of Chattanooga were reported missing to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office earlier in the day by a concerned family member. The pair had not been heard from since Saturday.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Officer Joe McSpadden responded to a call from the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department around 10:45 a.m.  and responded along with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department. The boat, a 34-foot Bayliner, was found floating in a cove near the 477 mile marker, near what most boaters know as Patten Island… not far from island Cove Marina. The bodies of both victims and their pet were discovered on board.

The bodies were taken to the Hamilton County Medical Examiner’s office and the case remains under investigation. TWRA confirms three previous deaths resulting from carbon monoxide poisoning since 2010. Enclosed cabin boats were involved in all incidents.

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Richard Simms is a professional journalist and fishing guide in Chattanooga. (See He is also a former wildlife officer for TWRA, a book author and a self-proclaimed "River Rat" with a sincere desire for spreading the message about our bountiful natural resources and the people charged with using, or protecting them.


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