Parasailing death roils sport's waters

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Four cruise lines have canceled Caribbean parasailing excursions in the wake of an accident that killed a 60-year-old passenger and injured her 34-year-old daughter in St. Thomas last week, sparking new debate about the safety of the high-flying sport.

The Coast Guard is investigating the accident, which prompted Celebrity, sister company Royal Caribbean, and the Norwegian cruise lines to suspend all parasailing excursions in the Caribbean. Carnival has also temporarily dropped parasailing during port calls in St. Thomas.

Parasailing, a sport in which passengers dangle hundreds of feet in the air while being towed by a boat, takes place with almost no government oversight, particularly outside the U.S. About 1,300 parasailing companies operate worldwide, with about 225 in the U.S., says Mark McCullough of the Florida-based Parasail Safety Council.

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