A fun day of parasailing last Saturday proved fatal for one of two sisters when the tow line broke on the 28-foot powerboat that was pulling them, sending the pair and their parachute into a thatched roof shelter before they hit the second floor of a local resort.
The boat was heading toward Pompano Beach when the winds increased from 13 to about 35 knots. The National Weather Service had issued a marine notice of offshore thunderstorms and high winds for the area about 40 minutes before the boat set out, according to the Sun-Sentinel newspaper.
As the wind kicked up, the driver tried to pull the girls back down, but the hydraulic winch wasn’t strong enough, according to a report in the Miami Herald. The wind pulled the parachute along with the girls, ages 17 and 15, and the boat toward the shore until the tow line broke.
The younger of the two sisters suffered internal injuries, neck and head wounds, and was declared dead on Monday after being treated at Broward GeneralMedicalCenter. Her older sister was released from NorthBrowardMedicalCenter at noon the same day. According to their parents, they were both to attend their first day of school Aug. 20 at LakeWeirHigh School in Ocala, Fla.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Coast Guard are conducting an investigation on what caused the line to snap and whether mechanical failure or driver error are to blame.
— Elizabeth Ellis