Father who lost daughter in boating accident isn't giving up on passing 'Kali's Law'

Kali Gorzell, 16, fatally struck by boat propellors in 2012

By Jessie Degollado - Reporter, Mariah Medina - Digital Journalist

SAN ANTONIO - A father whose 16-year-old daughter died in a boating accident off the Texas Coast in 2012 is still pushing to pass a law in her honor that would require a kill switch cord to be utilized in certain boating scenarios.

Kali Gorzell was on a boat with her friends when a family friend turned the boat to the right. James Gorzell, Kali Gorzell's father, said the boat turned 180 degrees in what seemed like a fraction of a second, throwing his daughter off into the water. 

READ: 16-year-old killed in boating accident laid to rest 

Kali Gorzell was fatally struck by the boat's propellers.

Kali's law would require anyone operating a boat that's under 26 feet in length to be attached to a kill switch.

"If you don't have a kill switch, there's nothing to keep the boat from doing whatever it's going to do," James Gorzell said. 

MORE: Teen killed in boating accident identified 

According to a 2009 notice of proposed rule making from the U.S. Coast Guard, mandatory wear of a cutoff switch could reduce deaths by roughly 89 percent and injuries by approximately 77 percent. 

In 2014, the Houston Chronicle reported that 30 percent of Texas boaters don't use a kill switch. 

Singer-songwriter Marcy Grace, a friend of Kali’s brother, said she wrote “Angel, Spread Your Wings” after learning of Kali’s death:

“The words just came,” Grace said.

Kali’s father said, “She said the song actually wrote itself. It was Kali talking to her.”

Grace said, “If nothing else I do in life, I know this song helped this family and other families.”

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