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Man who drowned in Kualoa sailing accident ID'd

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 01:52 p.m. HST, Feb 27, 2013

The Medical Examiners Office has identified the 57-year-old man who drowned when his catamaran overturned in waters off Kualoa Ranch last week as John Ross-Duggan — an accomplished sailor.

The website Catsailor reported that Ross-Duggan, a quadriplegic, died doing what he loved — “sailing his Hobie Getaway in the surf with friends when they apparently capsized.”

The website added “Ross-Duggan “was sailing with two crew and after the capsize, the mast came down. John was trapped under the boat. One of the sailors was a trained EMT, but was not able to revive him.

Ross-Duggan was an accomplished Hobie Catamaran racer and even after a car accident at the age of 23, which caused the paralysis, “continued to follow his passion for sailing.

The website listed his accomplishments — 1998 World Disabled Sailing Gold Medalist; 1996 US SAILING’S Male Athlete of the Year; 1996 Paralympic Bronze Medalist; 1996 Hobie 16 Trapseat World Champion; and 1977 Hobie 16 National Champion.

In a 1996 profile, the Los Angeles Times reported that sailing has been a big part his life since he was 7. By the time he was a teenager, Ross-Duggan was doing well in California regattas, and at 15 he was seventh in the 1970 Hobie Nationals in Honolulu.

The newspaper said an automobile accident in 1978, after he had completed his third year of medical school, left him a quadriplegic. Six months later, after rehabilitation, he returned to medical school. Ross-Duggan went to the UC Irvine Medical Center for his four-year residency, then to Parkland Hospital in Dallas with a fellowship in neuroradiology before settling in Orlando.

Paramedics took Ross-Duggan n critical condition to a hospital Feb. 23 after he was rescued at 3:50 p.m. He died an hour later.

The medical examiner also said that the victim had injured his upper spinal cord.

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Sailor kept at it despite paralysis

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cojef wrote:
Rare accident to have spinal injury from a spill or simple over-turning catamaran. Just an unlucky person, whose number was up.
on February 27,2013 | 09:03AM
Skyler wrote:
This catamaran accident had nothing to do with his spinal cord injury. He was disabled from an auto accident when he was 23.
on February 27,2013 | 11:26AM
tiki886 wrote:
You do not know that. In the last paragraph, it doesn't state whether the spinal injury was from his original accident which was already mentioned twice in the article or whether the spinal injury was from the accident that took his life. Just poor writing from the SA staff.
on February 27,2013 | 03:05PM
Skyler wrote:
Why is this so hard? Unless this was re-written to include the following, it's all there: 1. He drowned after his catamaran flipped & he was trapped underneath. 2. He was a quadriplegic prior to this accident. 3. A car accident at the age of 23 caused the paralysis. 4. He was left a quadriplegic from an accident in 1978. Nothing in this article leads one to believe that the catamaran accident caused his paralysis. Nothing.
on February 27,2013 | 05:16PM
entrkn wrote:
He must have been friends with Peter Hershorn.
on February 27,2013 | 10:32AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
It certainly sounds like Mr. Ross-Duggan was a mighty impressive fellow.
on February 27,2013 | 12:26PM
kainalu wrote:
Yep. And as stated, died what he loved doing. He's okay, it's the rest of us still living that have problems.
on February 27,2013 | 05:36PM
allie wrote:
on February 27,2013 | 12:29PM
Hugo wrote:
The Sea Explorer Scouts on San Francisco Bay required us to always wear a knife on a lanyard around our necks in case we got trapped under a sail during a capsize. Part of the Air Force flight uniform is a MA-1A switch blade knife kept in a pocket near the groin area (yikes!) used to correct a fouled parachute during decent or cut away a parachute when trapped while in water. Dr. Emory wanted me to go on the first Hokulea voyage. I passed.
on February 27,2013 | 03:25PM
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