A 28-year-old woman from Connecticut was fatally injured when she fell approximately 200 feet in a parasailing accident off Pompano Beach, authorities said.
The woman was parasailing tandem with her husband offshore in Pompano Beach when her harness broke at 3:18 p.m. Wednesday and she fell between 150 and 200 feet into the water, city spokeswoman Sandra King said in a statement.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission identified the couple as Kathleen and Stephen Miskell.
His harness did not break, so the boat’s operator slowly reeled him into the boat, and found Kathleen Miskell face-down in the water. They started CPR, called 911 and brought her to the Hillsboro Inlet. There Pompano Beach Fire-Rescue continued CPR and administered “advanced life support” for Miskell, who was in cardiac arrest, King said.
She was taken to Broward Health North in critical condition. King said later Wednesday afternoon that Miskell had been pronounced dead.
Pompano Beach Mayor Lamar Fisher was immediately notified about the accident.
"And she fell between 150 and 200 feet face-down into the ocean, and that's like hitting a brick wall, and the husband unfortunately had to witness it,” he said.
The couple, reportedly from Connecticut, was here on vacation, King said.
The boat was from WaveBlast Water Sports, based in Pompano Beach. Their website promotes parasailing, with an emphasis on safety.
The FWC and the Broward Sheriff's Office are investigating the incident. Investigators spent hours interviewing employees from WaveBlast, who had few words to say about the tragedy.
Authorities hauled off the boat late Wednesday night.
In 2007, tourist Amber White was killed in a similar parasailing accident, also in Pompano Beach.
Parasailing is an unregulated watersport, not overseen by any government agency.
Fisher has been pushing for legislation for that reason.
"And obviously it fell on deaf ears. And so here we are today, losing another life, because of no inspections and no opportunities to make sure that this equipment is safe. For someone to have come down on vacation to Pompano Beach, it's inexcusable to me," the mayor said.