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Parasailing accident spurs calls for regulation

5:34 PM, Jul 3, 2013   |    comments
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Clearwater, Florida -- The home video that captured Monday's parasailing accident in the Panhandle shows just how badly things can go wrong. When their parasail separated from the tow boat, two girls careened into a building before crashing into a parked car. 

"They were screaming and it was horrific," described one witness.

While many operators self regulate and follow a long list of safety checks recommended by the Water Sports Industry Association, this week's accident has lawmakers once again calling for statewide standards.

SEE ALSO: Woman parasailing in Florida plunges in ocean, dies

Senator Maria Sachs, D-Boca Raton, says she'll re-file a bill that stalled in committee last legislation session. Her proposal would prohibit parasailing in windy conditions or when lightning is near. Businesses would also have to have liability insurance and undergo state inspections.

Pinellas Senator Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, has supported similar legislation in the past, but says there's always a big push-back from lawmakers who object to new regulations for businesses.

"It's our duty as legislators to protect Florida citizens and visitors," he told 10 News over the phone. "I don't know how many more deaths or injuries it's going to take before we wake up and do something about it."

On Clearwater Beach Wednesday, kids played tug o' war, while other visitors felt the tug of adventure. Emir Tuzlic, visiting from Missouri, took his first parasail ride and loved it.

"As soon as you go up, it's kind of like wavy and it's relaxing more than anything, so it was nice," he said, just after emerging from the tow boat.

Workers at Clearwater's Chute Em Up parasail booth declined to comment for this story.

As a tourist, Tuzlic did not know that parasailing was unregulated in Florida and even though he felt safe flying high, he'd vote for some rules. 

"Always -- safety first right," he said.

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