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Common Causes of Parasailing Accidents

While Florida’s beaches are beautiful from any angle, many visitors are drawn to the idea of seeing them from above. One of the most popular ways to do this is with parasailing, which involves passengers being towed hundreds of feet in the air by a vehicle (usually a boat) while attached to a parachute-like canopy.

While parasailing is a thrilling activity enjoyed by numerous people each year, it occasionally causes accidents that result in death or catastrophic injury. In fact, according to the Parasail Safety Council, more than 70 people were killed and at least 1,800 were injured while parasailing between 1982 and 2012. Here are some of the most common causes of parasailing accidents:

  • Bad weather – and the failure to monitor bad weather. Specifically, strong winds (over 10-15 mph) are among the most common causes of serious parasailing accidents, as they may cause towlines to snap or other mechanical failures. Parasailing operators should not send passengers up in windy conditions, and should continuously monitor the weather and promptly bring passengers back down if poor conditions appear imminent.
  • Equipment failure. There are many components to parasailing equipment, and if any of them are not properly maintained or are subjected to bad weather, they could break, potentially causing severe accidents. This may occur when towlines have not been properly stored or are not replaced despite showing signs of wear and tear, when safety harnesses malfunction, or when the canopy lines become entangled and cause the canopy to fall.
  • Striking fixed objects. Whether due to equipment failure, bad weather, inexperienced operators, or a combination of the three, one of the most severe types of parasailing accidents occurs when passengers collide with fixed objects.
  • Drowning under the parachute. If the parasail falls into the water, one of the greatest risks is that passengers will become entangled or trapped by the parachute, thereby causing them to drown.

While parasailing accidents are relatively rare, they typically cause tragic, life-altering consequences for victims and their families. At Leighton Law, we have represented several of these victims, leading our team to spearhead Florida’s cornerstone parasailing safety law: the Amber May Law. The impetus for this law was the heartbreaking case of Amber May White, a 15-year-old girl who died from head trauma and internal injuries after her parasail line snapped in high winds, causing her and her sister to crash into a building.

With extensive experience in this area, the team at Leighton Law is here to help if you or a loved one has been injured in a parasailing accident. Call us today at 888.988.1774 to schedule a consultation.

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