MIAMI (CBSMiami) — An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found parasailing to be a largely unregulated industry with serious accidents caused by faulty equipment.
The effort is part of the group’s first investigative report into parasailing safety following eight parasailing accidents , two of which occurred in Florida.
The report identified a number of safety concerns which included vessel operators who continued to operate despite hazardous wind conditions, use of inadequate equipment and unserviceable gear, and compromised strength of rope tied to the parasail.
“An afternoon of parasailing can have tragic results if something as simple as a weak towline, strong winds, or a worn harness causes a serious accident,” said NTSB Acting Chairman Christopher A. Hart. “It is crucial that operators are competent and aware of all the risks associated with parasailing.”
Along with the report, the NTSB made some recommendations for the industry which has no federal standards regarding training of operators or inspection of equipment.
The NTSB said some safety risks could be avoided if operators were required to have, “a minimum level of experience and professional competence.”
The group has recommended the United States Coast Guard implement a special license for parasail operators along with five other recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration, and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.
Two of the accidents which triggered the investigation occurred in Pompano Beach and Panama City, Florida.Two teens were seriously injured after a towline broke due to high winds causing their canopy to hit a beachfront condominium on July 1, 2013.A little less than year before, a woman fell 450 feet to her death after her harness separated from the flight bar over the ocean.
Other accidents occurred in Hawaii, North Carolina and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The accidents resulted in a total of eight deaths and five injuries, according to the report.
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