Husband of Illinois Woman Killed Parasailing in Florida Keys Speaks Out

A fatal parasailing accident from May 2022 is back in the news after the husband of an Illinois woman who was killed in the Florida Keys speaks out about the incident according to a report from Local 10 News. The decedent, who hailed from outside Chicago, was parasailing with her ten-year-old son and her seven-year-old nephew when, as her family watched in horror, the boat captain cut the line connecting the parasail to the boat. He reportedly cut the line due to a sudden storm that was causing the parasail to drag and could have potentially flipped the boat. However, according to another report from NBC 6 South Florida, the family had told employees of the parasailing company they would come back the next day if it was not safe parasailing conditions, but were assured the weather would not be an issue. When the boat captain cut the line, the woman and the two boys slammed into a bridge, seriously injuring both boys and killing the woman on impact.

Boat Captain is Charged Criminally After FFWC Investigation

Shortly after the incident last year, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which regulates boating safety in the Sunshine State, performed an investigation of the crash. The investigation determined that the boat captain cut the line holding the woman and the two boys because the parasail was dragging in high winds from a sudden storm. The investigation determined the captain violated five separate parasailing safety regulations in connection with the incident.

The boat captain was charged by Florida authorities in September 2022 with manslaughter in connection with his actions in the crash. He has pleaded not guilty and the criminal case remains ongoing.

Parasailing and Other Water Sports: Safe if Done Properly

This case raises many issues related to the incident in which this woman was killed. The first question is why the captain would have agreed to go out in weather in which a storm was potentially going to occur in the first place. Second, even if the line was “dragging” in high winds as was reported, the boat’s captain had a duty to ensure the woman’s safety as well as the safety of those on board the boat, so he should only have cut the line if it was necessary. Whether that was the case remains to be seen, but the fact that he was charged with manslaughter is significant.

Although these are all questions that remain to be answered, they highlight the importance of choosing a reputable tour operator if you are visiting Florida from out of state, or live in the Sunshine State and you are engaged in water sports or activities. Doing your research to ensure that whatever vendor or company you choose has an excellent reputation for not cutting corners and taking all appropriate safety precautions is particularly important.

Contact Schwed, Adams & McGinley

At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, our experienced personal injury attorneys have decades of legal experience representing those injured in a wide variety of scenarios, including participating in water sports like parasailing. Florida has the most registered boats of any state in the country and, unfortunately often due to the tour operators, water sports are not always as safe as they could be. Therefore, if you or a loved one has been injured in a Florida boating or water sports accident, contact our experienced personal injury attorneys today at contact@schwedlaw.com or (877) 694-6079 today.