A parasailing accident has claimed the life of a 28 year old wife and teacher in Pompano Beach, Florida. The woman parasailing in tandem with her husband and is now identified as Kathleen Miskell, of Wethersfield, Connecticut. Miskell volunteered with habitat for humanity, went on mission trips on behalf of her church, and was a middle school teacher in East Hartford, Connecticut. The company that rented the equipment and conducted the parasailing is now known to be Wave Blast Water Sports, listing a 1380 S. Ocean Ave., Pompano Beach address.
The harness was apparently faulty and broke sometime around 3:15 in the afternoon Thursday, August 16. It is estimated that she fell some 200 feet to her death. Her husband did survive the ordeal. The operators of the boat picked up Mr. Miskell, but when they attempted to rescue his wife, she was found to be in cardiac arrest, and later pronounced dead at a local hospital. The tragedy has given rise to a discussion about regulation of the parasailing industry in Florida.
It also causes us to consider further the larger picture of boating safety, as this is not the first death this summer—or even this month—in Florida’s waters. The United States Coast Guard reports that 758 people died in domestic boating accidents in the United States last year. Boat operators, like cruise ship operators, and tourist attraction vendors, such as Wave Blast Water Sports, have a duty to make sure that their customers are safe. They must take all necessary and reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of their customers.
There may very well be grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit in the Pompano Beach parasailing accident. The Broward County Sheriff’s Office originally responded to the accident, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is now conducting an investigation. Since the investigation is not yet complete, all of the facts have not been fully disclosed to the public. An important party in an investigation can often be a qualified maritime lawyer. Our firm has handled numerous boating accident cases, and we are well versed in not only the maritime-specific laws that apply, but also in the laws relevant to personal injury and wrongful death litigation.
Since this wrongful death occurred while in the territorial waters of the State of Florida, both the general maritime law of the United States as well as the laws of Florida can apply. This is an extremely tricky area of the law and there might be an attempt by the vessel owner and operator to limit their liability to the value of the vessel after the accident. There could also be a product liability claim due to the failure of the harness.
Most attorneys will never see or handle this type of claim in their entire career. Our firm has successfully handled many of these types of claims.
Use of boating experts is essential to successfully litigating recreational boating negligence cases. Experienced boating accident lawyers often call upon these boating experts – usually retired Coast Guard officers or licensed seagoing captains to offer opinions as to the operational negligence of a boat’s captain. That may be highly relevant in this case, especially if the captain of the boat was somehow derelict in his duty to ensure the operational functionality and safety of the failed equipment.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a boating or parasailing accident, draw upon our experience so that we can recover the damages you are entitled to under the law. Contact a qualified parasailing accident lawyer now.