Georgia Woman Dies in Florida Parasailing Accident

Posted on September 23, 2010

A report has been issue detailing the dangers of parasailing that led to the death of a Georgia woman on vacation in Clearwater Beach.

Alejandra White, 27, and Shaun Ladd were parasailing above the beach on Sunday, September 5, when the tether connecting their harness to a towboat broke, according to WRDW. Ladd fell into the water and White was dragged by the runaway parachute into the beach area and onto a volleyball court where she hit a post. She was hospitalized but died days later. Ladd was not injured.

White and Ladd, who were engaged, were from the Atlanta area.

Bay News 9 reports the parasailers were about 50-feet above the water when a winch attaching them let loose and they slipped to the end of the line. That’s what caused it to snap according to a preliminary report from the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Fortunately for Ladd, he was able to release himself from the line.

The U.S. Coast Guard is also investigating and has the parasail vessel and all equipment involved secured as part of its investigation.

Parasailing Accidents
The Parasail Safety Council estimates that in the U.S. over the last 10 years there have been 384 accidents which resulted in 22 deaths and 78 serious injuries.

In 2001, on Clearwater Beach, a mother and her teenage daughter were killed when the line broke in a storm and in 2007, a teenage girl died in south Florida.

That highlighted the fact that the industry falls under little regulations concerning, for example, when not to take customers out on the water. In this case, witnesses report there was a big storm filling the horizon accompanied by strong winds.

As we write this story, the head of the Parasail Safety Council, Mark McCulloh, writes, “I no longer believe that voluntary regulations are working, or will ever work.”

This is not the last we will hear about this industry and certainly not the last we will hear about this wrongful death.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.