A Galway man watched his wife fall 150 feet to her death as she slipped out of their tandem parasailing harness over the Florida coast.
Stephen Miskell (31) and his wife Kathleen (28) were vacationing in Pompano, Florida when the tragic accident took place. Kathleen’s harness failed and Stephen watched as she fell into the water.
A 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.”
The technicians then pulled Stephen back on to the boat and circled round to find Kathleen face down in the water at 3.15pm, on Wednesday. She was quickly pulled from the water and the boat operators performed CPR but it was too late.
She was transported to Broward Health North hospital where she was pronounced dead having suffered a cardiac arrest.
The couple were on an excursion with Wave Blast Water Sports, which operates out of the Sands Hotel.
Speaking to the DailyMailOnline, one of the employees at the water adventure company, Brandon, said, “We really don't know what happened. It's hard to talk about it.”
Jim Flynn, a friend of the couple, told the Miami Herald, they were all reeling after the news. He said, “For [Stephen] to go through watching her fall and then trying to get her, it had to be really devastating for him.”
Kathleen’s sister Erin Mulcahy said, “She was my everything.”
Two of Stephen and Kathleen’s neighbors spoke to NBC Connecticut. Christopher Himan said, “Nice girl, Stephen, her husband, great people. We know them, we hung out with them, really great people.”
His wife Sarah said, “My heart is breaking for Stephen and the whole family. Kathleen was a really sweet, friendly person. She was very outgoing.”
Stephen, originally from Galway, and Kathleen married in 2009 in Manchester,Connecticut where he owns a tiling company and she worked for the local school district.
This is the second parasailing death in the area in the past five years. In 2007 Amber May White was parasailing with her sister when high winds broke their line and the two girls were thrown ashore where they landed on the roof of a hotel.
Following Kathleen’s death, Mayor Lamar Fisher is calling for tighter regulations of the parasailing industry.
He said, “This is accident number two in the city of Pompano Beach so we want to do anything we can as a city to make sure legislation is put in place so these posts, these harnesses can be inspected on a regular basis, and right now that's not occurring, and that's what upsets us, so something has to be done.”