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Cable fault behind wheelchair death

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 25/08/2016

A worn power cable may have caused the wheelchair crash which led to the death of Hawke's Bay man Samuel Gibson last year, a coroner says.

The 39-year-old died in hospital from his injuries two days after falling from his wheelchair when it came to an abrupt halt while he competed in a half marathon.

Mr Gibson suffered osteogenesis imperfecta, a condition which causes extremely brittle bones.

Coroner Chris Davenport, in his findings, says Mr Gibson may have survived if he had been wearing a seatbelt.

"It is also possible that the wheelchair would not have stopped suddenly and unexpectedly if the cable connecting the joystick to the power module had not failed due to fatigue."

Testing of the wheelchair showed power was abruptly cut when the cable was tugged

An engineering expert Campbell Easton believed the cable had been moved or knocked out of place, so that it went over the gearbox and moved up and down with the suspension.

The wheelchair had never been serviced, and Mr Davenport said that might have identified the problem.

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