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Woman parasailing with husband in Florida dies after falling 200 feet

A Connecticut woman fell nearly 200 feet in a parasailing accident off the coast of Florida's Pompano Beach. WTVJ's Steve Litz reports.

A Connecticut woman died in a parasailing accident in Florida Wednesday when she fell about 200 feet into the ocean, authorities said.

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Stephen Miskell and his wife, Kathleen Miskell, 28. She died after falling 200 feet in a parasailing accident off Pompano Beach, Florida.

Kathleen Miskell, 28, was tandem parasailing with her husband offshore in Pompano Beach, Fla., when her harness broke Wednesday afternoon and she fell into the water, city spokeswoman Sandra King said in a statement.

“She fell between 150 and 200 feet face-down into the ocean, and that’s like hitting a brick wall, and the husband unfortunately had to witness it,” Pompano Beach Mayor Lamar Fisher told NBCMiami.com.

Miskell’s husband, Stephen Miskell, was not hurt, and the boat’s operator reeled him in after Kathleen fell. They found Kathleen face-down in the water and pulled her into the boat too.

They started CPR, called 911 and brought Miskell to the Hillsboro Inlet. Miskell was in cardiac arrest as Pompano Beach Fire-Rescue continued CPR and administered “advanced life support,” according to King.


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She was taken to Broward Health North hospital in critical condition where she was pronounced dead later Wednesday afternoon.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Broward Sheriff’s Office are investigating the incident. Investigators spent hours interviewing employees from WaveBlast Water Sports, the company that owned the boat.

Authorities hauled off the boat late Wednesday night.

Stephen and Kathleen were reportedly on vacation when the incident occurred.

Two of their neighbors told NBCConnecticut.com they had been friends with the Miskells since they moved into the neighborhood about a year ago.

“Nice girl, Stephen, her husband, great people. We know them, we hung out with them, really great people,” Christopher Himan said.

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“My heart is breaking for Stephen and the whole family,” Christopher’s wife, Sarah Himan said. “Kathleen was a really sweet, friendly person. She was very outgoing.”

This is the second parasailing fatality of Pompano Beach since 2007. That year, tourist Amber White was killed in a similar accident when her line snapped in strong winds, throwing her body onto a roof of a hotel. The investigation later revealed that the boat operator ignored a thunderstorm warning, the New Times Broward-Palm Beach reported.

Parasailing companies operate in Florida with little-to-no regulation from the state or the federal government. Mayor Fisher said he has been pushing for legislation to impose stronger safety standards.

“And obviously it fell on deaf ears,” Fisher said. “And so here we are today, losing another life because of no inspections and no opportunities to make sure that this equipment is safe. For someone to have come down on vacation to Pompano Beach, it’s inexcusable to me.”

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