27-year-old Alejandra White is fighting for her life after being impaled on beach umbrellas following a para-sailing jaunt which went horrifically wrong. Alejandra was parasailing with her fiancé, Shane Ladd, off a popular Florida beach which was packed with locals and tourists celebrating Labour Day weekend.
The couple were enjoying a tandem ride when Ladd’s line broke and he plunged over 60ft into the waters below. Fortunately, Shane was able to swim to shore suffering only minor cuts and bruises, however a gust of wind saw Alejandra dragged helplessly towards the beach, hurtling at speeds of up to 40mph with her arms and legs flailing as she slammed into beach umbrellas.
White’s body could be seen coming to an abrupt halt as she slammed into a fixed 4ft high wooden beach pole. Paramedics were able to stabilise the 27-year-old before rushing her to hospital.
Beachgoers watched in horror as they were powerless to stop the catastrophic smash which occurred across Clearwater Beach. One eyewitness, Toni Counts, said ‘She looked like a bowling ball, if it wasn’t for the (wood) post, she probably would have gone into the traffic.’
Lifeguards ran to the scene and provided immediate medical care, however she was later taken by helicopter to Bayfront Medical Centre. White, visiting the area from Georgia, remains in a critical condition in hospital after sustaining multiple injuries.
This is not however an out-of-the-blue occurrence as only a matter of months ago, Glenn Hudson, 50, plummeted 150ft to the ground after his harness apparently snapped 10 minutes into his tandem parasailing trip with his 25-year-old daughter, Emma Hudson.
Mr Hudson, a parasailing enthusiast, had persuaded his beloved daughter to join him in tandem for the first time during a family holiday in the Turkish holiday resort of Side. Miss Hudson watched, helpless to stop the tragedy, as her father fell to the beach where he was pronounced dead at around 3pm on the 28th July’10.
The loving family, who were quickly ushered away from the scene following the accident, say they have since been shocked by reports of several parasailing accidents in Turkey in recent years. Mrs Hudson has vowed to fight for better safety regulations and said she will not let this go.
Last month, 70-year-old Roger Parker, a grandfather from Bristol was left clinging to a narrow ledge for 14 hours after his parasail crashed into the side of a mountain in the popular holiday resort of Olu Deniz, Turkey.
So the moral of the story is, if you really really feel the need to go up in mid-air attached to only a few strings, a boat and a large sail, make sure the company you are using are respectable and extra safety conscious, as these freak accidents occur when you’re least expecting them to. It would also be advisable not to attempt it from standing on a beach, or you could face eating sand like this poor soul!