Mother of Westlake teen drowning victim files lawsuit, Teen drowned in Lake Travis in June, Carbon monoxide was in her system

Sarah Elizabeth Pool March 13, 2000 - June 11, 2015

Sarah Elizabeth Pool
March 13, 2000 –
June 11, 2015

By CASSIE MCKEE, Four Points News

The mother of a 15-year-old who drown in Lake Travis while attending a church wakeboarding camp in Lake Travis in June has filed a lawsuit in Travis County District Court against the church and her daughter’s boat operator. The lawsuit, filed several weeks ago, is still pending.

Westlake High School freshman Sarah Pool, 15, was attending the “One Wakeboard Camp” organized by Austin Ridge Bible Church on June 11. According to court documents, Pool was hanging onto a platform on the back of the boat when she went underwater and did not resurface. Her body was found two days later and officials said they believed the teen had inhaled the boat’s exhaust fumes.

According to court documents, Linda Pool claims that Andrew Lossing, the boat’s operator, allegedly failed to supervise the girls aboard the boat and allowed Sarah to remove her life jacket. Additionally, Lossing allegedly failed to prevent her daughter from breathing too many exhaust fumes and allegedly did “nothing” when the girls complained about it.

Boats that have generators that vent toward the rear of the boat pose a danger of CO poisoning to people on the rear swim deck or water platform, according to the Centers for Disease Control. On larger boats CO builds up above the water near the water platform. CO that builds up in the air space beneath the stern deck or on and near the swim deck can kill someone in seconds.

Court documents further state that Lossing was allegedly driving the boat at an unsafe speed, allowing high amounts of exhaust to envelope the interior of the boat, especially in the rear where the children were riding, sitting and playing, and allegedly the defendants did not supply enough activity-appropriate and age-appropriate life jackets for all of the children on the boat. Furthermore, court documents allege that Lossing was the only adult on the boat and the only adult provided by the church and the defendants’ acts and omissions directly and proximately caused Sarah’s suffering, injuries, and death.

Pool is seeking more than $1 million in damages, according to court documents.

“I just want to help bring this family some closure,” said Jason Webster, the family’s attorney.

Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning on boats

  • Install and maintain a working CO detector listed by Underwriters’ Laboratories as appropriate for marine use inside the boat to alert people when dangerous levels of CO have built up inside the boat cabin.
  • Properly install and maintain all fuel-burning engines and appliances.
  • Educate all passengers about the signs and symptoms of CO poisoning.
  • Swim and play away from areas where engines vent their exhaust.
  • Watch children closely when they play on rear swim decks or water platforms.
  • Never block exhaust outlets which can cause CO to build up in the cabin and cockpit areas – even when hatches, windows, portholes and doors are closed.
  • Dock, beach or anchor at least 20 feet away from the nearest boat that is running a generator or engine. Exhaust from a nearby vessel can send CO into the cabinand cockpit of a boat.

Source: Centers for Disease Control