When I was in high school a classmate of mine died in a similar manner, only she got her car stuck in sand. From what I was told, the tail pipe was partially blocked and she left the engine running to keep the heater going as it was a cold night. CO built up and killed her.
Carbon monoxide kills by binding to hemoglobin (the oxygen carrying blood cell), and by doing so it prevents oxygen from binding to hemoglobin. Carbon monoxide is used as a humane means of euthanizing animals as it causes drowsiness, loss of consciousness and ultimately asphyxiation as the hemoglobin can no longer acquire oxygen. It will do the same to people. CO is odorless, so just because you don't smell exhaust fumes doesn't mean that it isn't building up.
I am thinking they got stuck, and decided to just wait it out until morning and left it running to stay warm and fell asleep and never woke up. Doesn't sound hinky, just unfortunate. Growing up we were taught if you are stuck in bad storm to keep the exhaust clear if you are running the vehicle to stay warm to allow the exhaust to get out.
Perfect set up. Stuck in the mud, probably drunk, in a bog with no wind, other swamp gases, combined with Co, the gases stay down on the suface and don't disipate.......truck running, they pass out one at a time as they tell stories, and die in their sleep. I didn't read the article....was the truck still running or out of gas? Talk about bad luck!!
While growing up in WV, I was taught to clear the exhaust pipe.. Always have a window cracked when running, but don't run it all the time.. Run it for 10 minutes or so every hour.. Because of CO2 build up..
I had a friend that was in his car warming it up. His daughter was in the back seat.. He didn't know he had an exhaust leak and the it leaked into the car.. When his wife came out, he was passed out and his daughter was dead.. That is why a properly functioning exhaust is very important.. Not for performance or gas savings, but for safety..