Parasailing Is Fun, But Can Be Dangerous
Parasailing is a common summer activity (or year round, here in sunny Florida). But parasailing is not without its risks and dangers, and a recent accident in the Florida Keys demonstrates just how dangerous parasailing can be.
What is Parasailing?
Parasailing is when someone is being pulled by a boat, and the parasailer or rider has a parachute on. Being pulled by the boat, the wind catches the parachute, and the result is that the rider goes up into the air, much like flying. The rider at all times has a rope that is attached to the boat. As the boat slows down, the wind dies down, and the rider gently falls into the water, and eventually, goes back into the boat.
Parasailing Tragedy Because of Bad Weather
But air from the pull from the boat isn’t the only kind of air that can catch the parachute, and pull the rider, as a tragedy in the keys recently demonstrated.
In a recent incident, a woman and two young children were parasailing behind a boat. However, while the riders were in the air, a strong gust of wind appeared.
When a wind gust happens, and it is strong enough, it can take control of the riders’ parachutes, and that is what happened here. According to the boat captain, the gust was so strong, pulling the parasailers uncontrollably, that the riders were actually pulling the boat. The boat did have other people on it, and the captain says that he was concerned for their safety—if the wind is strong enough, it can pull parasailers so strongly that it can capsize a boat.
Fearing the worst for the onboard passengers, the captain cut the parasailers’ lines that connected them to the boat. Now free of the boat, and being blown in the air by the current, the parasailers found themselves headed right into the side of a concrete bridge, unable to control their trajectory.
The riders did hit that bridge, leading to one death, with the children suffering very bad injuries. Some of the younger riders needed or will need serious plastic surgery to reconstruct their face and head.
Lawsuit Alleges Numerous Wrongs
The injured families have now filed a lawsuit against the parasailing company, alleging numerous failures that they say led to the accident.
The families allege that it was known that the day was going to be windy—so windy, the families say that the parasailing event never should have happened. They also question the captains’ cutting of the parasailing lines, saying that this was not the proper way to handle a wind gust that starts to pull parasailers.
The lawsuit also says that riders were not given full and clear safety instructions before going on the tour, and that the boat did not have proper weather monitoring equipment, which could have alerted the boat to inclement weather in advance.
Ultimately, experts will likely be needed to look at the captain’s actions, and the decisions made by the parasailing company, to see what they did wrong. But the lesson here is to be careful, as the fun activities of Florida’s seemingly endless summer can also be dangerous.
Call the West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys at Pike & Lustig today for help if you have been injured in any recreational or sports activity and you feel someone may be liable for your accident.