Families of Two Parasailing Victims Killed in Ocean Isle Beach Sue for North Carolina Wrongful Death

June 25, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

The families of Lorrie Shoup and Cindy Woodcock are suing Ocean Isle Beach Water Sports, North Carolina Water Sports, and owner Barrett McMullan for wrongful death. The two women died during a parasailing accident on August 28.

Woodcock, 60, and Shoup, 55, fell 500 feet into the water off Ocean Isle Beach when the tow rope linking their parachute to the boat snapped. Heavy winds dragged the parachute across the water, causing the women’s bodies to strike the pier and the boat. Autopsy results report that Shoup and Woodcock died from blunt force trauma.

According to their families’ North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit, McMullen and Thomas Povazan, the captain of the boat that was towing the two women, were negligent. The plaintiffs contend that Povazan and the ship’s mate did not give safety instructions to the women before they went parasailing. They also allegedly disregarded the other boat passengers’ pleas to pull the women back down as the winds accelerated. There were kids on the boat that reportedly witnessed the tragic accident.

Also, on the day that the Ocean Isle Beach parasailing accident happened, the National Weather Service had put out a small craft advisory warning boaters on the North Carolina coast that conditions might be dangerous because Tropical Storm Danny was picking up waves and wind. The parasail’s manufacturer had warned not to use its product in winds higher than 12 mph. Winds in the area hit 32 mph on August 28.

The victims’ families are seeking unspecified damages. Meantime, the Coast Guard is investigating the parasailing deaths.

Last year, Ocean Isle Beach Water Sports and NC Watersports filed complaints seeking to remove themselves from North Carolina wrongful death liability or limit any recovery to a $100,000 cap for the women’s parasailing deaths. The cap is the estimated value of the boat that was pulling them when they were fatally injured.

Families sue parasail operator over fatal accident, WRAL, June 24, 2010

Two Parasailing Companies File Complaint to Limit Wrongful Death Liability in Parasailing Accident that Claimed Lives of Two Women, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, October 10, 2009

Family Remembers Parasailing Victim, Digtriad, August 30, 2009

Related Web Resources:
US Coast Guard

Parasailing Tips


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