Woman injured in ferry collision removed from life support

Posted: Monday, September 18, 2000

VICTORIA, British Columbia (AP) -- A 71-year-old Anchorage woman who was critically injured in a collision between a jumbo ferry and a pleasure boat died after being removed from life support Sunday evening, a regional health spokesman said.

Lois Larson, 71, had been in critical condition at Victoria General Hospital since the collision Thursday of her ex-husband's 34-foot cabin cruiser and a 560-foot ferry boat as the ferry left the Swartz Bay terminal on Vancouver Island.

Bernard Larson, 72, was killed in the accident.

Lois Larson was placed in intensive care at the Victoria hospital as a result of near drowning, and her family chose to have her removed from life-support systems Sunday after it became clear she had very little chance of recovery, said Andrew Mordan, spokesman for the Capital Health Region in Victoria.

Family members held a memorial service for Lois Larson during the day, and she died at 5:45 p.m., Mordan said.

Authorities initially believed Bernard Larson, of Port Angeles, Wash., survived the collision of his cruiser Star Ruby with the ferry Spirit of Vancouver Island, and that he died of a heart attack after being pulled from the water. But preliminary autopsy findings released Saturday by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police suggested he died of injuries sustained in the accident.

Mordan said he did not have specific information concerning any other injuries Lois Larson may have sustained in the collision.

The couple's son, Shawn Larson of Anchorage, said the boating trip was to have been a romantic reunion for his parents, who hoped to remarry.

They were headed to the Tolly Rendezvous, a gathering of Tollycraft boat owners at Thetis Island off the southeast coast of Vancouver Island.

Shawn Larson said his parents were married 32 years before they divorced 10 years ago. He declined to accept a phone call Sunday night at his Victoria hotel room.

Witnesses said the ferry gave several blasts on its horn before the collision. Police investigators have said the smaller boat appeared to be trying to overtake the ferry and turned directly into its course before being run over and crumpled.

Investigators believe Bernard Larson, who wore a hearing aid attached to his glasses and was steering from below decks, may not have been aware of the danger.

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