Home News Local news DE-BUG ENABLES WHEELCHAIR-BOUND BEACHGOERS

DE-BUG ENABLES WHEELCHAIR-BOUND BEACHGOERS

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Nov. 5, 2002 – Caroline Owens of Westport, Conn., was perplexed when she got near the sand at Trunk Bay Beach. How was she going to get from her wheelchair into the water?
"Can I get closer?" she asked V.I. National Park lifeguard Richard Penn Jr.
Penn had just finished demonstrating the park's newest piece of equipment, the De-Bug. With balloon tires, the wheelchair-sized vehicle can better navigate the sand.
Park Superintendent John King said the park gets occasional requests from handicapped people who can't navigate their wheelchairs on the sand. The De-Bug can even go right into the water.
Owens, whose left leg was in a cast because of a broken ankle, said she knew her wheelchair wouldn't do the job. She said that its wheels got caught in a grate as she exited the Cruz Bay ferry dock, and she was dumped unceremoniously to the ground.
Owens said she was delighted to find that the park had a way to assist her.
"I wanted to go to the beach and get into the salt water," she said.
King said that the all-terrain wheelchair provides as stable ride and has excellent directional control and maneuverability. All its wheels remain on the ground even when traversing uneven sand.
He did not know how much it cost, but said funding came out of the park's budget.
If you'd like to use De-Bug when you visit Truck Bay, have someone in your group ask a lifeguard to get it out of the locked storage room. You may use it for your entire visit.

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