Weather Blamed for Parasailing Accident

By: Cameron Taylor Email
By: Cameron Taylor Email

PANAMA CITY BEACH - This is the first time attorney Debi Chalik has seen the area where two Indiana teenagers were involved in a deadly parasailing accident.

The tow-rope carrying 17 year olds Alexis Fairchild and Sidney Good snapped under the strain of strong winds, which carried the girls into the Commodore Condominiums.

They bounced off of a balcony, hit some power lines and landed on several vehicles in a nearby parking lot.

"I remember a lot. All of it actually. I mean to a point where I blacked out, but I don't know," said Fairchild.

A picture sent exclusively to NewsChannel 7 shows the girls heading out into the gulf as a huge storm front was rolling in.

"You know it was obvious to even my client that the sky was not looking so great. She was concerned and asked about that and was told 'don't worry about that. We've been doing this a long time. You're fine,'" said Debi Chalik, Alexis Fairchild's Attorney.

The Fairchild family is suing Aquatic Adventures management, its owner Jeff Jones, and Treasure Island Resort Rentals.

Attorney Debi Chalik claims the defendants were negligent by taking the girls on a parasail ride in extremely dangerous weather, the boat and parasail were too close to shore, and inappropriate, and unsafe equipment was used.

The lawsuit says Treasure Island Resort Rentals failed to make sure the operators were fully qualified and had radios, and other necessary equipment. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

Jones issued a statement saying that "sudden weather conditions can and do occur."

Treasure island resort managers didn't comment. Attorneys for both girls agree the weather conditions will play a major role in the lawsuits

"I think we're going to find that the winds were tremendous coming out of that storm and that they should have been expected by people who are parasailing operators," said Wes Pittman, Sidney Good's attorney.

Pittman, who is representing Sidney Good, has not yet filed a lawsuit. Both girls will most likely have to undergo more surgeries.

Next month, Fairchild's attorney says Alexis will testify before the Florida legislature next month, supporting State Senator Maria Sachs' parasail regulation bill.


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