Honeymoon Tragedy: Groom, Family Grieve in Hospital

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Ongoing Parasailing Investigation Yields Few Answers

Police in the Bahamas are investigating Ocean Motion Watersports, Ltd., the parasailing company that owns the equipment used by the couple.

"We cannot give any comment until the police investigation is finalized," said Sarah Rolle, co-owner of Ocean Motion.

Loretta Mackey, spokesperson for the Royal Bahamas Police Force, said she could not share additional details about the accident because it is still under investigation. She is unaware of other incidents involving the company.

On their website, Ocean Motion advertises parasailing for $70 a person and describes itself as "the largest watersports company on Grand Bahama Island."

Mark McCulloh, a U.S. parasailing expert who is often called on to testify in lawsuits, said the company turned in the equipment to authorities the day after the accident.

"I only take on cases I think are extreme," said McCulloh. "I don't deal with the guy who bumped his knee, broke an ankle … the families who really need my help lost loved ones."

This case, he said, "really got to my core.

"Talking to Victor and walking him through this -- he's going through a tremendous tragedy here."

Data Murky on Parasailing Injuries and Deaths

There is limited data on parasailing injuries and deaths in the U.S. and its territories, and even less information about accidents in the Bahamas. The U.S. Coast Guard reported 12 casualties involving inspected passenger vessels and 64 casualties involving uninspected passenger vessels between 1992 and 2001.

McCulloh, who keeps his own database on parasailing injuries and deaths, says that between 1977 and 2011, there were more than 398 reported and unreported parasailing accidents in the U.S. and its territories.

Although the Coast Guard does not regulate parasailing activity, they are currently working with the Water Sports Industry Association, an advocacy group, and ASTM International, formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials, to develop a set of standards for parasail operators across the U.S.

"God help the parasail operator that ignores the ASTM standards … because you would be pretty doggone naked standing in a courtroom answering a plaintiff's attorney as to why you ignored that standard," said Larry Meddock, executive director of the WSIA.

Meddock said it may be years before the standards are established, but WSIA is taking a proactive role to make it happen.

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