Articles Tagged with “Pompano Beach”

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This past weekend, a 3-year-old boy, Henrique Dias Amorim, was discovered “floating” by a family member after a family gathering organized at a waterfront home that family had borrowed for the occasion. Somehow, it is believed the child found his way out to the backyard and the pool during the gathering. The responding authorities have already declared that no charges would be brought against anyone in this case, and they qualified this to be a horrific accident. Early investigation has shown that the pool in question did not have a pool fence or barrier to prevent the child from going inside the pool. It is unclear as of yet whether the home should have been equipped with such protection.

Recently, Leesfield Scolaro filed a lawsuit in another tragic drowning case, to another little boy who was found in the pool by his grandfather, despite the pool being equipped with a pool fence. In their lawsuits, Ira Leesfield and Tom Scolaro have alleged that the pool fence manufacturer was liable and responsible for the incident due to numerous significant defects in the pool fence manufacturer’s product. Thankfully, the child survived, but not before he sustained catastrophic brain damage, for which he will require medical care the rest of his life.

Poolfencing.jpgThe state of Florida has staggering statistics when it comes to fatalities of young children and pool drownings. According to Florida Health, Florida loses more children under age five to drowning than any other state. Annually in Florida, enough children to fill three to four preschool classrooms drown and do not live to see their fifth birthday.

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On Tuesday July 3, 2013, two teenage girls from Indiana were vacationing in Panama City and purchased a parasail tour. While in the air, a severe storm began to develop and the two rope snapped due to the high winds. The two 17-year-old girls, Alexis Fairchild and Sidney Good, who were riding in tandem, were at the mercy of the winds. Not before long the parasail crashed into the side of a condominium. Seconds later, the girls hit powerlines or a utility pole before plummeting down in a parking lot. According to witnesses, both girls were limp, on the ground. Rescue rushed them to the Bay Medical-Sacred Heart hospital in Panama City. They remain in critical condition.

This incident is the latest of numerous parasailing accidents off the Florida coasts in the last several years. As is customary in shoreline incidents, the Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has taken over the investigation. The investigators released a preliminary statement that seems to corroborate severe weather developing before or during the parasailing activity: “Sidney Renea Good of Roanoke and Alexis Fairchild of Huntington were parasailing in a tandem harness over the Gulf of Mexico off Panama City Beach when an afternoon storm developed with strong winds.”

In 2007, two teenage sisters were also vacationing in Florida when they decided to take a ride up on a parasail. Like Alexis and Sidney, they were both incredibly excited. Several minutes into the ride, strong winds started to build up. The boat was pushed towards the shore line more and more and the two girls were helplessly dangling in the air, above the beach, near the buildings. See the video below:

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In light of the latest parasailing tragedy that took place two days ago in Pompano Beach, a new push for safety regulations of the parasailing industry is to be expected and encouraged by all, especially Floridians who have become the forced audience of so many fatal accidents, all of which preventable.

When Ira Leesfield represented the White family, in 2007, after the death of Amber and the catastrophic brain injury to Crystal, her sister, Leesfield Scolaro engaged in a national awareness campaign which included appearances on the Today Show, and Inside Edition. The goal was not only to bring attention to the dangers associated with parasailing when precautions are not taken (they almost never are), but also and most importantly to push legislators in Florida and in other coastal states to pass laws and safety regulations at once. Two drafts of the Amber May White Act were introduced before the Florida legislators in 2007 and 2008, but both failed.

The death of Kathleen Miskell, a 28-year-old woman from Wethersfield, Connecticut, will once more sound the alarm to all who want to hear it. The self-imposed safety measures that the parasailing industry claims to be following are insufficient, inadequate and simply intolerable. On a daily basis, these unregulated businesses, often manned by incompetent and inexperienced individuals, place their customers in danger. The equipment used for parasailing is never inspected, the ropes used to tug the chute with one, or two, sometimes even three people, are improper and overused. Companies often use the same chute regardless of the weight or the number of people they are sending up hundreds of feet in the air. Yet, there is no accountability. Ira Leesfield reiterated his concerns to the Miami Herald, concerns that grow stronger with each and every parasailing victim Leesfield Scolaro represents.

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Last November, Bernice Kraftcheck and her daughter, Danielle Haese, were on a cruise ship parasailing excursion off the coast of St. Thomas. The tour operator, Caribbean Water Sports & Tours, sold a tandem ride through Celebrity Cruise Lines, to the mother and daughter couple and offered to take them up on their parasail for $80 each.

Five minutes in the air, the catastrophe occurred. The rope pulling the couple broke and the chute plummeted down in the water. While they were in the water, the boat continued to pull the chute, causing Bernice Kraftcheck to be violently pummeled by the waves before being rescued. Bernice did not survive her injuries. Danielle did survive, but sustained serious brain damage.

Leesfield Scolaro filed a $30 million civil lawsuit in February, 2012, against multiple defendants, including the boat captain and the parasailing operator for their respective negligence.

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Yesterday, August 15, 28-year-old Kathleen Miskell from Wethersfield, Connecticut, was killed in a parasailing incident that took place in Pompano Beach, Florida. The early details obtained by the investigators of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and Pompano Beach Fire Rescue who were rushed to the scene, point to the young woman’s harness breaking when the parasail was already up in the air and tugged by the boat. As soon as the harness broke, Kathleen Miskell fell approximately 150 to 200 feet into the ocean. She was pronounced dead at Broward Health North.

kathleenmiskell.jpg Stephen and Kathleen Miskell were parasailing as a tandem at the time of the incident. They had purchased a parasail ride with Waveblast Watersports, Inc., a parasail and jet ski rental company that operates in Pompano Beach, and out of the Sands Harbor Resort.

A history of Parasailing Incidents

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