Gabriel Pollard sustained fatal injuries after an accident with the Disabled Sailing Association of Victoria, which allows people with physical and mental disabilities sail in the Esquimalt area. Facebook

Gabriel Pollard sustained fatal injuries after an accident with the Disabled Sailing Association of Victoria, which allows people with physical and mental disabilities sail in the Esquimalt area. Facebook

Investigation continues into death of teen Victoria sailor in dockside accident

Disabled Sailing Association member Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after lift gave out

Investigations are underway looking into the death of a disabled Victoria teen sailor.

Gabriel Pollard, 16, had muscular dystrophy, a hereditary condition marked by progressive weakening and wasting of the muscles.

He was finishing up an afternoon of sailing with the Disabled Sailing Association of Victoria at Munroe Head, at a dock shared with the Canadian Forces Sailing Association on June 21 when a tragic accident took place.

Pollard was being transferred by a power lift from the Martin 16 vessel to the dock when the sling broke, dropping him to the ground and into the water.

While Pollard was retrieved from the water and taken to hospital, he died from his injuries later that day.

The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service is collaborating with the B.C. Coroners Service in looking into the circumstances around the death. The facility itself is not, however, on DND property.

“Our thoughts are with the family and with the staff for the trauma they’ve experienced,” said Doug Nutting, the Disabled Sailing Association’s director of operations, who was not on the scene at the time.

The program has been running since 1992 and no other injuries have ever been reported, he said.

“In the past 24 years, maybe we’ve had a cut or bruise here or there, but never a concussion, never a broken bone, nothing. We have approximately 200 people in the association, and go for 500 sailings per year.”

Munroe Head (in the purple circle) is Public Services and Procurement Canada land near the Songhees Wellness Centre. It has a dock used by the Canadian Forces Sailing Association, that is also used by the Disabled Sailing Association of Victoria. File contributed

Staff and volunteers do a visual inspection of the lift every day as part of their safety procedures, Nutting added, but he heard of no reports of problems with the equipment.

“We’ve suspended the program for now,” he said. “We weren’t in full season yet, and were only offering sails three days per week to people who have sailed with us before … The board has suspended the use of the lift until we know why it failed.”

Pollard had been sailing for three or four years. He was one of a few of the association’s members with a physical disability, since most have developmental issues or brain injuries.

The Coroners Service indicated Thursday that the investigation into the accident is in its preliminary stages.



nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter
and Instagram

DeathDisabilitymultiple sclerosis

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penelope the cat showed up safe and sound at her owner’s porch after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks. (Photo courtesy of Reuniting Owners with Animals Missing)
Penelope, cat and friend of the Victoria HarbourCats, returns home safe

The cat had an after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks

Stanley Fischer (right) died while in a Victoria police jail cell hours after he was arrested on Nov. 15, 1981. Forty years later, his family is questioning his cause of death. (Photo courtesy of Mark Fischer)
Family wants investigation into man’s 1981 death while in Victoria police custody

Stanley Fischer’s death was ruled a suicide after he was found hanging in his jail cell

The Compost Education Centre is hosting its annual spring plant sale on May 8 at 1216 North Park St. Physical distancing protocols will be in effect during the sale, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Black Press Media file photo)
This weekend: Tenth annual spring plant sale hosted by Victoria Compost Education Centre

The non-profit event Saturday, May 8 will feature numerous varieties of plants, live music

Saanich police detectives are investigating a reported sexual assault that occurred near Glanford Park on the evening of Dec. 29, 2020 and have shared an artist’s rendering of the individual. (Image via Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers)
Saanich police release sketch of suspect sought in December sexual assault

Anyone with information asked to contact detectives, Crime Stoppers

Work is progressing on the new student housing building at the University of Victoria. The building will be home to 398 students when complete in September 2022. (Photo courtesy of UVic)
VIDEO: Mass timber installation begins at UVic student housing project

Green technology plays key role in building that will be home to 398 University of Victoria students

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Most Read