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Florida Tourist Killed in Parasailing Accident

A 31-year-old tourist died recently during a parasailing accident in Florida. The parasailing boat, Almost Heaven, lost power mid-trip and sent the tourist plunging down into the Gulf of Mexico from hundreds of feet in the air, according to 13 News.

Parasailing accidents in Fort Lauderdale and other beach towns in Florida contribute to a number of tourist injuries every year. With the lack of state and federal regulation of this industry, many companies slack on safety standards.

“It wasn’t dead in the water. Our understanding is that it was able to make a bare-steerage way. Just enough propulsion to maintain the course,” said Coast Guard Deputy Cmdr. Peter Martin. “But could not come up to speed.”
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Our Fort Lauderdale tourist accident attorneys understand that tourists flock to our beaches to enjoy the sandy shore, parasailing, jetski rides, boating excursions and a number of other tourist attractions. A number of these activities lack government overview and are free to operate as they wish. Without this type of supervision, tourists face a greater risk of being injured in Florida. We are unable to report an exact number of tourist accidents in this industry because there are no state or federal regulations that apply specifically to parasailing. The only thing that regulates these rides are rules that apply to all commercial vessels.

According to witness reports, the parasailing tourist waved from the water after the plunge to signal that he was alright. He was still connected to the parachute that allowed him to float in the water. He was still being pulled by the boat, at an accelerate rate of speed, once he landed. The victim was wearing his life jacket.

A number of emergency crews responded to the incident but we’re unable to save the man. When they pulled him out of the water, he was unconscious.Officials have yet to determine what happened between the wave from the water to the time they rescued him.

According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Spokesman Gary Morse, all of the statements that were taken from witnesses corresponded. There were eight people on Almost Heaven, the parasailing boat.

The boat wasn’t inspected, according to the Coast Guard. Florida Fish and Wildlife currently has the boat and is conducting an investigation.

A number of these parasailing companies along our Florida shoreline do not have up-to-date licensees or certifications. It is also reported that the operators of the parasailing equipment have little to no training in how to correctly use a parachute. A large number of them are not medically trained either. Even worse, these companies will often secure parasailers and take them through rides of windy weather, bringing riders too close to other boats, buildings and other land structures.

The council founder of Parasail Safety Council, Mark McCulloh, reports that there are about 350 parasail businesses that operate in the United States. He says that because of the lack of accurate accident statistics regarding this business, the industry can continue to promote the misconception that parasailing is safe and needs no state or federal regulations or operating standards.

“I think this is a very close-knit society of operators who are very secretive,” he said. “No one wants to take responsibility for regulating this sport. “If you research parasailing statistics, it looks like the safest sport in the world. In reality, it’s a huge industry without regulations.”

If you have been injured in a Florida accident in West Palm Beach, Margate, Miami or Fort Lauderdale, contact the personal injury attorneys at Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez. Call for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-529-2368.

Additional Resources:

Tourist dies after parasailing accident off Longboat Key, by Josh Gauntt, 13 News

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