Disabled sailing group suspends use of lifts after death of teen

Victoria's Disabled Sailing Association confirms they are suspending use of the type of lift involved in the death of a 16 year old disabled teen almost 2 weeks ago.

Gabriel Pollard, who had a severe form of muscular dystrophy, died June 21st after an Elkhorn manual-powered pool lift malfunctioned.

The teen was being lifted from a sailboat and was in a sling about 4 feet above the vessel when it snapped, dropping him to the deck of the boat, and causing him to slide into the water.

Doug Nutting, a spokesman for the charitable sailing group, says until a BC Coroner's investigation determines what happened, all sailings where the lift would be required have been cancelled.

The group has 4 lifts of the same make and model, and won't use any of them pending the result of the investigation.  

The teen's mother says it took almost 15 minutes to get her son out of the water.  He suffered a seiuzure in the ambulance and could not be revived.  An autopsy done in Kelowna determined

he had broken his back in 2 places, and had breathed in sea water.

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