A man who survived a carbon monoxide poisoning incident that killed two of his friends at the weekend, is slowly recovering after another hyperbaric chamber session on Monday.
The South African-born trio were on a fishing trip in Raglan when two of the men were found dead in their Ruapuke Motor Camp cabin beds on Sunday morning.

The third was found in a delirious state on the floor of the cabin .

Police were called to the camping ground about 8am on Sunday.

Initial indications were that the two men died from carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of using the charcoal-burning portable barbecue in the cabin.

The alarm was raised after other members of the men’s group noticed the three had not got up early as planned to go fishing.

The injured man was initially flown by air ambulance to Waikato hospital then transferred to Devonport naval base in Auckland for hyperbaric treatment.

He was then admitted to North Shore Hospital.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy promotes rapid healing, with a patient breathing pure oxygen while inside the chamber.

But Waitemata District Health Board spokeswoman Bryony Hilless said the man had briefly returned to the navy hospital today for another hyperbaric session.

“His condition is serious but it’s stable, and he has gone for this particular treatment and he may need another one.”

Hilless said the man would return to North Shore’s high dependency unit after today’s treatment.

“I would expect that if he continues to progress he’ll end up going back to Waikato (hospital) in a couple of days,” she said.

Ben Walker, who runs the motor camp, said it was “stupidity” to take the barbecue into their cabin to keep warm and that he had previously warned others not to do the same.

“If only I had seen them take the barbecue inside, things could have been different. I feel like crying, I just can’t believe it,” he told The Dominion Post.

He said the trio must have had a few beers and drifted off to sleep.

The deceased were reportedly a 35-year-old store manager from Howick and a 50-year-old store purchaser from Hamilton.

Police said their identities would be released once the formal identification and notification processes were completed.

A spokesman said the deaths were a tragic reminder of the risks of using any type of fuel burner in a confined space.

Carbon monoxide displaced oxygen in the bloodstream and deprived the heart, brain and other vital organs of oxygen.

The New Zealand Mountain Safety Council’s programme manager bush Chris Tews said the death of the two men was a tragic reminder of the extreme care required when using cooking equipment in confined spaces.

“Carbon monoxide is colourless, odourless, tasteless but highly toxic gas. Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when the gas is inhaled and significant exposure can be fatal.”

Tews said carbon monoxide poisoning was a potential hazard with all stoves, particularly in a confined space such as a car, tent, hut, or snow shelter.

“Carbon monoxide forms when a fuel is burnt and the oxygen availability is restricted, such as when ventilation is poor.”

The council recommended that any stove fuelled by gas, charcoal or kerosene be used outside.