Coast Guard Continues to Investigate St. Thomas Parasailing Accident

The Virgin Islands Daily News reports today that the U.S. Coast Guard continues to investigate the  fatal parasailing accident in St. Thomas which killed a Celebrity Cruises passenger and seriously injured her daughter on November 15, 2011.

We discussed this incident in our article Celebrity Cruises Passenger Killed in Parasailng Accident in St. Thomas.

The incidents resulted in the death of Bernice Kraftcheck, age 60 who the newspaper identifies lived in Round Lake, Illinois.  Her daughter, Danielle Haese, age 34, is identified as living in  Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania.

The Virgin Islands Daily News states that it is "unclear what caused the tandem riders to fall from the parachute and harnessed rig."  In its first article about the mishap, the newspaper cited speculation that winds gusts may have played a part in the accident.

A Coast Guard representative mentions that ten Coast Guard members from St. Thomas, Puerto Rico and the U.S. are conducting a maritime casualty investigation. The investigation checked the operators from the excursion company,Caribbean Watersports and Tours, for drug and alcohol shortly after the accident. 

Coast Guard investigations like this may take many months to complete.

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J Keys - December 4, 2011 12:12 PM

My husband and our friends were on this cruise when the parasail incident occured. We heard our Captain announce the casualty with respect. The four of us were on a safe sailing/snorkel on Rumbaba Charters, not yet on the excursion itinerary. Our's was wonderful. Having parasaild in Mexico and the v.i. I would reccommend.not going. Drs K and P will continue to utilize the laws set forth in the US and enjoy Florida. Joanne Keys RN.

KPrice - December 29, 2011 3:37 PM

We just returned from a Disney Cruise and we went parasailing at Disney's Castaway Cay. It was wonderful fun and seemed safe. My condolences to the family of the lady who was killed. What a tragic end to what was probably a very much anticipated trip. So sad and probably unnecessary too.

laura fant - December 30, 2011 8:40 PM

I, too, just parasailed in St. Maarten, Virgin Islands, in early Nov. 2011. We were on a Royal Carribean cruise. My friend loved it while I, on the other hand, could think of nothing but falling to my death! it was too high and I had what I would call an anxiety attack. I just begged my friend to motion to the crew to wheel us in, which they did without hesitation! The parasail kept shifting while in the air and felt as though it would "pop" loose any minute. Then, of course, getting dipped in the ocean a few times before reaching the boat didn't help either. Never again = especially now having read about the poor tragedy which occurred only a week later. I am in prayer for that family.

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