MONROE COUNTY, Florida. — The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed Tuesday that the parasail company involved in a fatal Memorial Day accident near Pigeon Key was Marathon-based Lighthouse Parasail Inc.
According to officials, a woman and two children visiting from Schaumburg, Illinois, were parasailing around 5:30 p.m. Monday when the wind picked up and the parasail struck the Old Seven Mile Bridge.
The woman died from her injuries and one of the boys was airlifted to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. The other boy was slightly injured.
John Callion, who cut the line of the parasail and helped free the woman and two boys from their harnesses, said the woman and one of the boys were unconscious when he pulled them onto his boat.
“Around 5:30 p.m., I notice a parasail boat gliding into a storm.” Callion posted on his Facebook page. “It went from flat, calm conditions to 30mph in seconds. I knew immediately that the result would be bad. In fact, the line connected to the Parasail broke.
“As I continued to watch it was very apparent that the parasail needed assistance as they were chasing the parasail with 3 people attached to it. The Parasail was heading for the 7 mile bridge at high speed. You’ve probably covered a distance of between 1 and 2 miles. At first, the bridge appeared to be a saving grace from afar, preventing the Parasail from continuing its journey.
“Unfortunately, the victims touched the wing wall section of the bridge, and at high speed. I was the first boat to the scene. I myself, with my two passengers on board, cut the harnesses to free each victim from the attached parachute suspended on the bridge.”
Callion took the victims to the Sunset Grill, located at the east end of the bridge, and they were picked up from there by authorities.
“My passengers immediately started CPR until we got to shore,” he wrote in his Facebook post. “Once the victims were on board, I took the boat to the Sunset Grill as quickly as possible to meet with authorities.”
According to an official incident report, the woman and one of the children were unconscious when they arrived at the restaurant where life-saving maneuvers were being carried out.
The child was eventually able to open his eyes and was awake when he was taken to the hospital. The woman was pronounced dead and next of kin were notified at the scene as the report said there were between 10 and 12 family members there, including her husband.
The accident remains under investigation by the FWC and the US Coast Guard.
“Our deepest sympathy goes out to the family and friends of the deceased at this time,” the FWC said in a statement.
“My heart and prayers go out to the victims, I really did all I could do,” Callion wrote. “One woman was pronounced dead on arrival and the other unconscious boy was revived by my male client on board en route to the dock and local rescue workers met us at the dock to continue life saving efforts. Finally. Never take life for granted. Things can change in a second.”
Lighthouse Parasail Inc.’s website boasts an “unblemished safety record”.
Local 10 News reached out to Lighthouse Parasail Inc., and a co-owner said over the phone they were “devastated” by what happened.
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https://www.local10.com/news/local/2022/05/31/fwc-identifies-parasailing-company-involved-in-accident-that-killed-woman-injured-2-boys/ FWC identifies parasailing company involved in an accident that killed a woman and injured 2 children