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

Victoria council pushes for December byelection

City staff concerned with timeframe and planning needs prior to byelection

Island Sexual Health expanding physical space and workforce

Island Health looking to hire more health care workers for centre once expansion complete

Charity tackling ‘weekend hunger gap’ bracing for tripling of students in need

Backpack Buddies was serving 1,300 students per week in March, by June that number doubled

Pandemic reunites 2000s era Victoria rock band The Origin

Saanich musicians recording for first time since 2008

Local authors nominated for Victoria Book Prize awards

Finalists for 2020 announced in two categories

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Body discovered floating in water near Lasqueti Island

JRCC reports personnel aboard fishing vessel made the find

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Most Read