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Florida Parasailing Accident Prompts Coast Guard to Issue Warnings
VIDEO: Latest accident has lawmakers calling for more regulation of parasailing.

Posted Monday, August 12, 2013

Florida Parasailing Accident Prompts Coast Guard to Issue Warnings
Two sisters were badly injured after a tow line broke and they were blown towards land in a parasailing accident on July 1st, 2013 in Panama City, FL.

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On July 1st two Indiana teenagers were seriously injured in a parasailing accident in Panama City Beach. Sidney Renea Good (DOB 03/17/96), Roanoake, Ind., and Alexis Fairchild, from Huntington, Ind., were parasailing in a tandem harness over the Gulf of Mexico off Panama City Beach when an afternoon storm developed with strong winds, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officials.

These winds kept the chute aloft and several attempts to winch the riders back onto the vessel failed. The anchor was set to keep the boat from being pulled onto shore. The towline detached and the riders were helpless to control the chute.

The riders then impacted power lines, buildings and parked vehicles. Good and Fairchild were transported to Bay Medical-Sacred Heart in Panama City, where they were listed in critical condition.

The incident has prompted the Coast Guard to issue a safety alert for parasailing operations entitled “Know Your Ropes,” which highlights safety factors associated with previous parasailing incidents. Currently in Florida, you can parasail in every major city including Key West, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Cocoa Beach, Daytona Beach, St. Augustine, Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg, and all along the Gulf coast.

The findings of past parasail investigations have several common factors, and the Coast Guard has developed the mnemonic ROPES to remind operators of the important safety issues that may help prevent future incidents.

Remember that most parasailing fatalities and injuries are related to the towline.

Observe and monitor weather conditions.

Prepare for emergencies by having documented procedures and crew training.

Ensure that all equipment is properly maintained.

Safety is up to the operator and is expected to provide adequate level of safe operations.

While the Coast Guard does not currently regulate parasailing operations, nor does it inspect or approve parasailing equipment, the Coast Guard is urging mariners to carefully monitor prevailing and predicted weather conditions and tailor operations accordingly.

Parasail operators need to be especially cognizant of weather conditions on both the surface and at operating altitudes, remain well within the rated parameters of on board equipment, with adequate safety margins for control and safe recovery of passengers.

The Coast Guard continues its investigation into the cause of a parasail accident that occurred off Panama City Beach, July 1.

You may read [LINK]"Know your ROPES"[/LINK] in its entirety on the Coast Guard's Homeport page.

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