Coast Guard to hold formal hearing on N.C. parasailing accident

WILMINGTON, N.C. – The Coast Guard is scheduled to hold a formal hearing to receive testimonies concerning the parasailing accident that occurred Aug. 28 in Ocean Isle, N.C. that resulted in the death of two women.

The hearing will be held from Sept. 23-25 at 9 a.m.-5 p.m., at the New Hanover County Courthouse, court room 402.

Coast Guard marine investigators have recalled the crew of the parasailing vessel Tied High, several of its passengers, and a National Weather Service representative to obtain statements and finalize the timeline of events leading up to the accident and the associated response.

The Coast Guard will also take statements from a representative of the Professional Association of Parasail Operators and several passengers via phone.

The Coast Guard is investigating the facts and circumstances relating to the parasailing accident and will develop conclusions and recommendations to improve the safety and operations of similar vessels. The facts collected at this hearing along with the lead investigator’s conclusions and recommendations will be forwarded to Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington DC for a final review. Once approved the final investigative report will be made available to the public.

The National Transportation Safety Board is providing assistance with the testing and analysis of the parasailing chute, harness, towline and associated equipment.

The Coast Guard Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety, Security and Stewardship issued a safety alert to the parasailing industry on Sept. 17. The alert strongly reminds the parasailing industry, its vessel owners, operators and shore side personnel to be vigilant in their observations of current and forecasted weather and sea conditions with particular attention to wind speed. The purpose of safety alerts is to quickly advise the public of conditions that, if left unaddressed, pose urgent threats to safety in a fleet of vessels or particular type of operation.

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