A 28-year-old Connecticut woman was recently killed when she fell approximately 200 feet in a South Florida parasailing accident. On August 15th, Kathleen Miskell went parasailing with her husband, Stephen, near the Sands Harbor Resort & Marina. The couple was strapped into a side-by-side harness by employees for the Pompano Beach company that operated the parasail, WaveBlast Water Sports. While floating nearly 200 feet above the Atlantic Ocean, Kathleen’s harness allegedly malfunctioned and she fell into the water below.
The boat’s crew reportedly pulled Stephen to safety before turning around to find Kathleen floating upside down in the water. Although Kathleen was transported to a local hospital, she died as a result of blunt force injuries and asphyxiation due to drowning. According to the Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office, Kathleen’s death was ruled an accident.
After reviewing a video and photos of the events that lead to Miskell’s death, the Chairman of the Parasail Safety Council, Mark McCulloh, stated he believes the accident resulted from two sheared harness support straps. McCulloh also said the shearing may have been caused by a manufacturing defect or decomposition over time due to poor maintenance. According to McCulloh, the harness appeared to be an older model.
The cause of the tragic incident is currently under investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. A spokesperson for the NTSB, Terry Williams, said an in-water evaluation of the boat’s hydraulic winch as well as other equipment will be performed. Williams also stated the investigation could take up to one year to complete.
The relationship between the resort and the boat operator may be important if Kathleen’s family chooses to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the owner of the boat, WaveBlast, caused the accident through negligence, maritime law may limit her family’s right to recovery. If the resort was a partner to the parasailing company, its owners may also be held accountable for Kathleen’s death. Additionally, the manufacturer of the harness may be held liable if the accident was caused by a production defect. Because maritime laws differ significantly from normal tort and personal injury law, it is important to contact a capable maritime accident lawyer If you or a loved one was hurt while traveling on a boat in Florida.
Contact the law firm of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A if you were hurt or lost a family member in a South Florida boating accident. At Gerson & Schwartz, our knowledgeable Miami maritime accident lawyers have more than 40 years of combined experience assisting the victims of boating accidents receive the financial compensation they deserve following an unexpected injury. Our experienced attorneys are available to discuss your rights and help you file your personal injury claim. For a free consultation with a skilled personal injury lawyer, please do not hesitate to call Gerson & Schwartz at (305) 371-6000, or contact the law firm through our website today.
More Blog Posts:
CSX train accident and derailment in maryland: tracks to blame? Inspection records should be reviewed says Gerson & Schwartz, PA, Miami Injury Lawyer Blog, August 22, 2012
Two More South Florida Bicyclists Killed, This Time by a Driver Fleeing From Police, Miami Injury Lawyer Blog, August 10, 2012
Parasailing death inquiry to focus on equipment, by Daniel Chang, Julie K. Brown, and Carli Teproff, Miami Herald