Gabriel Pollard,16, died after a transportation lift used by the Disabled Sailing Association of Victoria broke, dropping him to the ground and into the water. The provincial government has filed a civil claim for compensation of Pollard’s health costs. (GoFundMe)

Gabriel Pollard,16, died after a transportation lift used by the Disabled Sailing Association of Victoria broke, dropping him to the ground and into the water. The provincial government has filed a civil claim for compensation of Pollard’s health costs. (GoFundMe)

Province sues over sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after marine lift failed

The B.C. government is suing the federal government, two individuals and a number of other organizations to recover health costs incurred by the province following a 2018 accident that claimed the life of 16-year-old Gabriel Pollard.

Pollard, who was living with severe muscular dystrophy, died from injuries he sustained after falling from a marine lift near Victoria on June 21, 2018.

According to court documents, Pollard, who used a wheelchair, was being transferred to a sailboat when a “marine lift with a sling” failed. The teen dropped onto the sailboat below and ended up in the water, where he was “for some time” according to court documents.

RELATED: Investigation continues into death of teen Victoria sailor in dockside accident

At the time of the incident, Pollard was participating in sailing activities at an Esquimalt dock near Maplebank Road, operated by the Canadian Forces Sailing Association.

Court documents maintain the facilities had been loaned to the Disabled Sailing Association of British Columbia’s Victoria branch, the Victoria Integration Society (VIS) and Recreation Integration Victoria (RIV).

All three organizations are named as defendants in the province’s case, along with two unnamed employees – referred to only as John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 – as well as the Attorney General of Canada and the Department of National Defense.

The province is suing for compensation of Pollard’s health care costs which the documents say resulted from the “negligence of the defendants, singly or together.”

RELATED: Victoria mother whose son died in sailing accident goes to court

The province’s civil claim comes after Pollard’s mother, Carrie Pollard, filed for damages in October 2018. Her case claims the defendants failed to provide a “proper and safe” lift and sling for disabled sailings, and also lists failed inspections and maintenance, modifications, and a lack of protocols and training as the negligence and breach of duty causing her son’s death.

Court documents from Carrie Pollard’s notice of civil claim say she was there the day the marine lift failed and she saw her son “fall and strike the sailboat and then fall into the water and struggle in the water awaiting rescue.”

The documents say she was with her son in the ambulance on the way to the hospital and was present when he died as a result of his injuries later that day. Pollard said she developed post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the shock of her son’s accident and death, is now severely distracted and experiences nightmares, depression and sleeplessness.

Pollard’s civil suit seeks damages for loss of past and future income, loss of earning capacity, loss of savings, loss of care and companionship, special damages and past and future care costs.

READ ALSO: Health authority denies wrongdoing in B.C. toddler’s death at daycare

In a documented response to Pollard’s civil claim, VIS and RIV deny having played any role in organizing the sailing activities taking place when Gabriel Pollard was injured. The two parties also maintain to have had no control over what took place on the premises and or in supervising the staff operating the lift and sling.

VIS and RIV also say they refer clients to community organizations such as the Disabled Sailing Association and were at no time in a contractual relationship with Gabriel or Carrie Pollard.

Both civil suits are yet to be argued in court.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

(B.C. Government photo)
POLL QUESTION: Are you in favour of B.C.’s three-week ban on in-restaurant dining?

Dr. Bonnie Henry called the three week stoppage a “circuit breaker”

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake occurred off Ucluelet just after 12:30 a.m. on April 10 and was reportedly felt as far south as Oregon. (Map via United States Geological Survey)
Quake off Ucluelet reportedly felt as far south as Oregon

Magnitude 1.5 earthquake also reported off Vancouver Island’s west coast hours earlier

Theatre manager Sophie L’Homme is ecstatic to share the news that Tofino’s aging Clayoquot Sound Community Theatre is finally getting upgrades. (Nora O’Malley photo)
BC Arts grant funding breathes new life into Tofino’s community theatre

“Once it’s done, it’s going to be a pride of the town.”

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

Pickleball is a favourite recreation for older adults on the West Coast. (Westerly file photo)
Pacific Rim Hospice releases older adult survey report

One key theme unearthed during the research process was the need for companionship

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Most Read