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parasailing-accident-imageThe risk of an accident in Florida causing injury or death rises in summer months, when tourists flood the state seeking outdoor adventure. After all, it only takes a split-second for that dream vacation to turn into a terrifying nightmare.

That was the story July 1 in Panama City Beach, where two teenage girls from Indiana were severely injured after they smashed into a high-rise building, live power lines, and parked cars during a parasailing accident.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, it happened when strong winds coming from a developing storm snapped the tow rope that connected them to the boat below. They are currently investigating the incident.

The girls, both age 17, were dragged across the Panama City Beach shoreline and flung into the side of a condominium building. A witness captured portions of the incident on video. They came to rest in a parking lot, where one of the victims was unconscious when rescuers arrived.

Both of the female victims suffered severe lacerations and head trauma. One victim badly damaged her back and had to have emergency spinal surgery, while the other suffered a neck injury.

Florida Parasailing, Boating and Jet Ski Accidents

Aquatic Adventures, the company in charge of the parasailing excursion, has the largest parasail fleet in the country, with 11 boats operating out of three area marinas and 60 beach locations, according to news reports.

This was not the first accident involving Aquatic Adventures. Various sources reported that in 2010, a customer was run over by a jet ski. He won a $650,000 settlement after suing the company for his injuries.

The latest mishap has sparked a debate over the regulation – or lack thereof – of the Florida parasailing industry.

Failed Bill Regulating the Parasailing Industry

In May of this year, Florida Legislature did not pass a bill that would have otherwise regulated the parasailing industry.

According to the bill, any parasailing apparatus would not been allowed to operate within 1,800 feet of the shore. It would have also required boat operators to install a radio on board in order to monitor weather conditions. Parasailing would also be prohibited during sustained winds of over 20 mph, in times of poor visibility, and in rainy conditions.

Contact a Florida injury attorney if you or someone you know has been in a parasailing, boating or skiing accident.