POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, May 24, 2011
A parasailing company that had an accident on Saturday in which a Utah woman was seriously injured off Ala Moana Beach Park had been penalized for a similar accident in March 2010.
In Saturday's accident a 36-year-old man, his 32-year-old wife and their 8-year-old daughter were aloft several hundred feet when the tow line broke. Hawaiian Parasail owner Mark Neumann said "very powerful winds" caused the line to break Saturday.
In the 2010 case Hawaiian Parasail's vessel, Wind Warrior, was towing two passengers aloft when the tow line broke, Coast Guard Cmdr. Jason Neubauer said.
"We found the main contributing factor was a gust of wind about 40 mph," Neubauer said. One passenger received a minor concussion and a black eye. The other passenger was not injured.
Hawaiian Parasail was civilly penalized for the March 2010 incident, also off Kewalo Basin, because of its failure to immediately report a marine casualty (which involves a passenger injured beyond first aid), Neubauer said.
"There are no federal or state regulations that require a certain size of line to operate within certain weather parameters," Neubauer said.
The parasailing industry generally self-regulates itself, he said.
There has been a push nationwide for stronger regulations. In 2010 two people were dragged underwater and drowned while parasailing in North Carolina.
Jessica Lani Rich of the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii, who assisted the family, said the Goodsells were among 23 family members visiting from Utah. Eight participated in the outing. The family has since returned to Utah.
In Saturday's incident the family was several hundred feet up in the air about 1,500 yards offshore when the tow line broke, and the parachute allowed them to come down slowly, landing in the water, Neubauer said. The parachute, pushed by the wind, pulled the passengers backward, he said.
Amanda Goodsell of Payson, Utah, told KHON-2 that she had difficulty keeping her head above water and eventually lost consciousness.
Neumann said weather conditions were not dangerous for parasailing, but an unusually fast squall swept in. He said the line was 29 days old and built to hold 8,000 pounds.