Coast Guard Closes Investigation into Parasailing Deaths

The United States Coast Guard has closed an investigation into the death of two women while parasailing in Ocean Isle Beach NC nearly four years ago.  The report recommends the Coast Guard increase several safety expectations for parasailing operations, including seeking legislative authority for inspections of vessels.


The final investigative report issued points to several factors leading to the deaths of Lorrie Shoup, 56 from Granby, Colorado, and Cynthia Collins Woodcock, 60 years old from Kernersville, North Carolina.


The incident happened mid-afternoon in late August 2009 when the wind picked up. Witnesses said the captain shifted into full throttle to move the parachutes safely away from the shore, but the cables snapped and the parachutes were pulled into an under draft and got caught under a pier. The Coast Guard said at the time the women died when a rope connecting the parasail to the boat disconnected.

The 64-page report concludes that several factors contributed to the death of the women, including the weather at the time, equipment failure and human error. The human error included the parasailing company not getting the latest marine reports and following recommended safety standards.

The report states that there is substantial evidence that the company owner and master of the vessel, Tied High, were negligent and committed misconduct that led to the deaths. The boat captain pleaded guilty last year to violating the Seaman's Manslaughter Act.