November 15, 2012
The 45-year-old captain of a boat that was leading a parasailing expedition three years ago off the coast of Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina—which led to two deaths—pleaded guilty to two counts of violating the Seaman’s Manslaughter Act yesterday in court.
WRAL News reports the accident happened on August 28, 2009, when a gust of wind caused the towline connecting the parasail holding the two women to the boat to snap. The women then fell roughly 500 feet before landing in the Atlantic Ocean. Another gust of wind then dragged the women several hundred yards across the surface of the water.
Court documents show the captain’s negligence to check weather bulletins in the area for the day of the accident was directly responsible for the women’s death, considering a hurricane off the coast was causing wind gusts of up to 25 mph. Also, the captain was negligent in ordering a deckhand to use a parasail that was only designed to handle wind gusts of up to 12 mph.
A North Carolina Wrongful Death lawsuit filed against the parasailing company and its insurer by the families of the women was settled earlier for $100,000.
The North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers with HensonFuerst are hopeful that a decision in both the criminal and civil cases surrounding this tragedy can help bring some sense of closure to the friends and family of the victims.