Parasailing is a popular activity on the nation’s lakes, waterways, and beaches, and the much-visited resort and tourist areas along the coast of South Carolina are no exception. Each year millions of people worldwide take to the air to enjoy a thrilling ride, strapped into a parachute being towed behind a speeding boat. At first glance, it would seem to be an inherently safe activity, being in a chute that will bring its occupant slowly to the water if the rope breaks or the boat’s engine stops.
A Fun But Risky Pursuit
Nevertheless, parasailing is one of what are known as extreme sports, an airborne one at that, and part of the thrill is that there is an element of danger. That danger is demonstrated by the number of injuries and even fatalities that occur each year, and South Carolina has had its share of them. Many of those that have been injured, or who have lost loved ones in accidents, have filed personal injury lawsuits against the operators of parasailing businesses and have been awarded significant compensation. Industry and safety experts point out that part of the problem is that there is virtually no regulation of the sport at the state or federal level.
Parasailing Accidents In The Carolinas
In 2009, in a widely reported case, Cynthia Collins Woodcock, 60, from North Carolina, and Lorrie Shoup, 56, from Colorado, fell to their deaths off of Ocean Isle Beach, NC when the towline snapped in high wind of up to 34 mph and with tropical storm Danny approaching. After an investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard and local authorities, the parasailing company involved was found negligent in the accident for taking the pair out despite severe and hazardous weather alerts in effect.
In June of 2018 a parasail rider lost both of his legs in an accident off of Myrtle Beach, though this one happened after he had come back down and was heading back to the boat, and somehow became entangled in the boat’s propeller. That accident is still under investigation at the time of this writing.
Many other parasail riders have suffered injuries ranging from bruises, strains, and pulled muscles to broken bones.
Reckless And Negligent Behavior
Many accidents and injuries, as well as equipment failures, go unreported by operators, although they are required to do so to the U.S. Coast Guard and in some cases to local authorities.
A majority of accidents, over 40%, are caused by operating in adverse weather conditions. Many others are caused by human error or reckless operations.
Although passengers sign a waiver, it doesn’t protect businesses from gross negligence.
Personal Injury Attorney
If you or someone you know has been injured in a parasailing accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our offices today for a free and confidential consultation.