Two Broward state legislators are citing last week’s parasailing accident in Panama City Beach as evidence to renew their push for new government regulation of the industry.
State Sen. Maria Sachs, a Boca Raton Democrat who represents part of Broward, and state Rep. Gwyndolen “Gwyn” Clarke-Reed, D-Deerfield Beach, unsuccessfully sought passage of legislation to regulate parasailing providers during the 2013 legislative session. They failed.
Now they’re pointing to a July 1 accident in which two teenage girls were seriously hurt in a parasailing crash in Panama City Beach. News reports said the cord tethering their parasail snapped free, causing them to careen toward shore. The pair crashed into the side of a condominium building, collided with power lines, and crashed into a parked SUV.
They suffered severe cuts and head trauma.
Clarke-Reed said Monday in a statement she’d try again next year to impose regulations. “I believe establishment of these regulations is imperative to meeting the expectations of safety of Florida residents and tourists. Failure to pass these provisions, I fear, may lead to more tragedies and have a negative impact on tourism in this state,” she said in a statement.
Sachs, who appeared on an ABC News report about the issue last week, tweeted extensively on the subject Monday.
Among her comments: “Since my bill last year filed following the #parasailing death of Kathleen Miskell in Pompano Beach we have two other victims of parasailing,” “The tragedy is that it's taken another #parasailing accident to prove we need safety regulations in place #Florida,” and “Since 98 there's been 33 parasailing accidents in Florida alone. This is ridiculous, we can do better to protect our tourists & Floridians.”
Sachs and Clarke-Reed announced their push for regulation last year after Miskell, 28, of Wethersfield, Conn., fell 150 feet to her death when her harness broke during a parasailing outing off Pompano Beach with her husband. The lawmakers sought equipment inspections, a ban on operations too close to shore and other standards to protect customers of these popular tourist activities.
In response to a Twitter comment Monday that “more big government regulations will drive out business and jobs. It will just hurt the tourism market,” Sachs responded that “tragic, preventable accidents like the #parasailing accident last week do more harm to business - Florida is better than this.”Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun