Teen Was Believed to Have Drowned While Boating With Friends, But Toxicology Report Shows That Isn't the Case

| MAY 29, 2017 | 5:48 PM

Raven Alexandrea Little-White was just 16 years old when she passed away in August 2016. She was a high school athlete and someone who will always be remembered for her laughter and personality.

The last day she was alive, Raven and her friends were enjoying a day boating, swimming, and wakeboarding on Lake Waccamaw.

According to WECT, Raven was with nine other kids that day.

As they made their way around the lake, she and another friend sat on the back of the boat without a care in the world, a decision that would prove to be a fatal mistake.

District Attorney Jon David explained:

“There were two young women sitting on the back of the swim platform, and as they were driving along, one of the young women began to get woozy, and began walking toward the cockpit area, and her friends were helping her, realizing she was in distress, and something was wrong."

Meanwhile, as the boat's attention was on Raven's friend, Raven lost consciousness and slipped into the water. Her body was found hours later. She was not wearing a lifejacket at the time.

The coroner first listed drowning as the possible cause of death. However, it wasn't until nearly a year later that a toxicology report revealed Raven's true cause of death was actually carbon monoxide poisoning.

According to the Boating U.S. Foundation, the most common source of carbon monoxide is “the gasoline-powered engine that is found on the majority of recreational motor boats.”

As the foundation also acknowledged, it's very important to learn the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and what to do if the gas is detected.

If a person begins to experience any of these symptoms...

  • headache
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • breathlessness
  • loss of consciousness

..it's important to “move that person to fresh air and seek medical attention.” Here are a few other tips people should know about carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Carbon monoxide cannot be seen, smelled or tasted.
  • It can make a person sick in seconds and high concentrations can kill.
  • Symptoms are similar to and often confused with seasickness or alcohol intoxication.

The Boating U.S. Foundation warns those on boats to “never ride or hang on a swim platform of a boat when the engine is running.”

According to MSNews Now, both the District Attorney's office and those in charge on NC Wildlife have decided to name part of their boater safety course, “Raven's Law.”

The course will now feature a section that focuses on teaching students to avoid the back of a vessel while the motor is running. Raven's heartbreaking story will be used as the example.