ONLY ON 3: Son fights for justice in 2009 parasailing accident

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Submitted: Thu, 09/05/2013 - 9:45pm
Updated: Fri, 09/06/2013 - 1:18pm

OCEAN ISLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — On August 28, 2009 Cynthia Woodcock and Lorrie Shoup went parasailing in the waters of Ocean Isle Beach.

Their trip took a deadly turn when serve weather and high winds caused the towline to snap. The women were left to fight for their lives as they were dragged through the rough water by the parasail.

Woodcock and Shoup were eventually killed by blunt force trauma.

Four years later Cynthia’s son, Bart Woodcock, is still traumatized with grief.

“I just wanted to say good-bye. I didn’t get a chance to say good-bye,” Woodcock said.

The parachute used during the time of the accident could only sustain 12 miles per hour winds. Weather reports from that day show wind speeds reached up to 17 miles per hour.

“They were just trying to make a quick dollar,” Woodcock said.

Bart says even though an 8 million dollar judgment was reached, he doesn’t think his family has gotten the monetary justice they deserve from the off-shore insurance company involved.

“The insurance company for North Carolina Watersports turned out to be a fraud,” he said.

Joel Rhine, the family’s attorney, says the insurance broker, Marine Specialty Management, which insured the parasailing board did not have the money to cover an accident when the policy was opened.

This only adds to Bart’s grief and frustration.

“This is absolutely gross negligence to the fullest.”


  • Guest1234543 says:

    That was a tragic and senseless killing, you could watch that line of weather approaching that day and knew it was going to be ugly. The thing I wonder, since the captain didn’t own the boat, there was other party’s involved, who ever owned the boat had an obligation to manage and oversee the day to day operation, why have they never been brought into this? Also, the owner is the one to choose the insurance company, why choose an offshore insurance company, is this pretty standard?

  • Myron Sussman says:

    Whenever you do risky things there should be 100% certainty that nothing bad will happen. If you cut your hand on the can opener it must be the can opener companies fault. Those ladies had no idea getting into a harness and being tugged by a big boat over the sea in a parachute could be dangerous. Certainly they never would have done it if they knew the hazards, right? Besides, its unprecendented that winds along the ocean can be unpredictable. Seems to me that the company that provided the risky ride is completely at fault for not predicting the weather precisely. And those ladies are completely blameless for seeking thrills based in a leisure pursuit that is at its face insanity. Hopefully their family can sue and sue until the legacy of these blameless ladies is set to right.

  • fact police says:

    Why don’t you get your facts straight before you start being a smart ass. Theirs a hurricane off shore, a small boat warning( which they ladies knew nothing about), the radios on the boat were turned off so the passengers on the boat couldn’t hear the warnings displayed. Do you know what the word negligence means? Obviously not. These ladies were not boat captains. And the folks that ran that company knew the risk more than the customers. Get your facts straight.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    brokers and agents are not insurance companies. they place coverage with insurance companies. they do not provide the actual coverage.

    the attorney should know that.

    the attorney should also contact Wayne Godwin, Commissioner of Insurance and request an investigation.

    that would be a far better use of his rhetoric. spouting off accomplishes nothing.

  • earlybird says:

    Having been in the parasail industry for 12 years, I know there have been several accidents due to tow lines breaking, but most resulted in no injury or minor injury. This particular accident was horrendous and resulted in the tragic deaths of two individuals. The flight should not have occurred because of the weather conditions at the time. This accident occurred because of the poor judgement of the owner and the captain of the vessel. Parasail operators in the Myrtle Beach area, just to the south, had ceased operations earlier due to the windy conditions. Forget the fact that the operators chose a fraud masquerading as a insurance company. Cant the owner of the boat, and the marina which sold the ticket be held accountable? Why didn’t the USCG charge the owner and boat capt. with Manslaughter on the High Seas as they did to an operator in USVI?? There were other passengers on the vessel including children I believe. They must have been traumatized if not physically injured as a result of witnessing a catastrophic accident. The assets of the owner and marina should be at stake too!!!

  • Guest-o-matic says:

    As I remember, there were tropical storm advisories due to an approaching storm that day. I remember that day being cloudy, with rough seas and blustery atmospheric conditions. I have not been able to see the USCG findings of the captain and mate on trial for that incident, but it can’t be good. Nobody with any common sense and any maritime knowledge, much less a USCG licensed captain would ever take passengers on a recreational parasail activity in those conditions! This was a complete travesty and a prime example of fully inappropriate use of good seamanship, prudent judgment and the ability of this “captain” to put his passengers and crew as his number one priority. He failed big time!

    Bart, I am so sorry for your loss and can’t imagine the pain you endure over such senseless and unnecessary judgment of that vessel captain and the company that offered the service. This was NOT an accident! This was ignorance, stupidity and neglect, all in one statement. This was easily preventable. I encourage you to pursue this to the very end! This isn’t about money, it’s about total negligence. Query the USCG on the captains quals, find his qualifying credentials, find the USCG final decision and most of all, do all you can to put that business owner out for good! I’m sure he’s still operating under a different name. Probably still has the same insurance company so he can “comply” and get a good rate. A total, greedy slime-bag!

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