Articles Tagged with “Parasailing Accident”

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On November 7, 2012, Kyle Coleman was arrested and indicted in the parasailing accident which caused the death of Bernice Kraftcheck. Almost a year ago to the day, Coleman, 32, was the captain of a small boat Turtle, in charge of performing parasailing excursions for Caribbean Watersports & Tours, a corporation based out of the U.S. Virgin Island.

Bernice Kraftcheck and her daughter Danielle Haese were on a Celebrity Cruise at the time, aboard the Celebrity Eclipse. They purchased the St. Thomas shore excursion aboard the cruise ship. According to the indictment, when the mother/daughter tandem was lifted up in the parasail, the wind conditions were deteriorating rapidly. Within minutes, the tow-line broke due to increasingly strong winds, and caused the parasail and its two occupants to plummet from the sky and crash into the water. The force of the wind and the water condition were such that the parasail was continuously propelled and dragged the two passengers for several minutes, causing the death of Bernice and serious injuries to her daughter Danielle.

Kyle Coleman.jpgSince these tragic events took place last November, the Coast Guard performed a meticulous investigation by marine casualty investigators and special agents from San Juan. The Coast Guard inspected the vessel and found numerous inadequacies, including an inadequate tow-line, and deficient vessel equipment. The master on the vessel was also unlicensed at the time of the incident. Based on these findings and countless witness accounts, Coleman was arrested and charged by a federal grand jury with being responsible for the accident. The one-count indictment is pursuant to 18 U.S.C.A. § 1115. Misconduct or neglect of ship officers. The statute provides in part that a captain employed on a vessel, by whose misconduct, negligence, or inattention to his duties, the life of any person is destroyed, shall be fined or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

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Leesfield Scolaro recently filed two lawsuits against Celebrity Cruises and Caribbean Water Sports for the wrongful death and catastrophic personal injuries sustained by two cruise passengers in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

To read more about the lawsuit against the cruise line and parasailing tour operator: Lawsuit Filed against Celebrity Cruises and Parasail Operator for the Wrongful Death of Cruise Passenger

Below is a news report broadcasted on the local CBS affiliate.

 

 

After this tragic incident, parasailing excursions, which were traditionally sold to passengers before a cruise on the cruise’s websites or during a cruise aboard the ship, were indefinitely suspended by the majority of the cruise lines, including Celebrity.

Celebrity Cruises, owner and operator of the ship Celebrity Eclipse, announced the cancellation of all parasailing excursions in the Caribbean indefinitely less than a week after the death of one of its passengers.

Celebrity’s Public Relations Department made sure that the announcement at the time was well-publicized and relayed in as many media outlets as possible. “All parasailing shore excursions in the Caribbean have been cancelled indefinitely, pending the outcome of the investigation,” said a Celebrity Cruises spokesperson.

Celebrity Parasail.jpgIt was surprising today to find out that, with a simple search of Celebrity’s watersports activities, parasailing excursions are still being sold to cruise passengers.

While Celebrity’s PR Department made sure to that its announcement last November canceling all parasailing activities was published in every newspaper and relayed by every media outlet in the aftermath of the death of a Celebrity passenger, there has not been any news release or news conference announcing that parasailing excursions have resumed.

Celebrity has not communicated to members of the public and customers what its investigation revealed and the steps taken to ensure that such a tragedy does not occur again.

To read more about the dangers of parasailing and prior cases of parasail operator negligence: Lawsuit Filed against Parasail Operator in Wrongful Death of Cruise Passenger
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