- Associated Press - Monday, September 22, 2014

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (AP) - Officials warn cargo lifts add convenience for Coast residents with elevated homes, but they also can be deadly.

Bay St. Louis City Councilman Lonnie Falgout tells The Sun Herald (https://bit.ly/1C3u6oi ) a longtime friend died Saturday when his lift failed.

Falgout said 74-year-old Richard Sandoz died around 4 p.m. He says the floor frame gave way and the floor collapsed after he stepped onto the lift with a friend and his son. The lift sat about 10 feet above the ground.

Hancock County Coroner Jim Faulk says Sandoz hit his head on the concrete below. He died from massive head injuries. Falgout says Sandoz’s friend, a Brookhaven doctor, hurt his ankles and was cut and bruised. The doctor’s son broke his leg.

Most homes in the Garden Isles area of Bay St. Louis are elevated to protect from hurricane-driven storm surge.

Sandoz knew his lift needed repair, Falgout said. The old frame was rusting, but Sandoz thought a repair weld would hold the floor until he could permanently fix the frame. Sandoz was a jack-of-all-trades, Falgout said, who had retired from the transportation industry.

Falgout said he knows of no inspections required for cargo lifts, but he plans to discuss the matter with the administration and City Council. He thinks annual inspections are needed.

Cargo lifts “are part of homes now, with the height requirements that FEMA has put across the Coast,” Falgout said. “I think we need to put better checks and balances on these things.”

Saltwater and moisture can wear out lift parts, he said, but weaknesses are not always visible.

Falgout sent a mass email to friends and constituents after Saturday’s fatality. He urged them to get their cargo lifts inspected and asked anyone who needed help to contact him.

___

Information from: The Sun Herald, https://www.sunherald.com

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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