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Aquatic Adventures has had legal troubles before accident

7:49 PM, Jul 4, 2013   |    comments
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG) -- The two Indiana teenagers, injured in a parasailing accident, remained in critical condition as of Wednesday night at Bay Medical Center.

The parents of 17-year-olds Sidney Good and Alexis Fairchild released another statement Wednesday afternoon giving more details about their injuries. Both girls suffered head trauma.

Alexis has severe back injuries and Sidney has neck trauma, but both are showing some positive signs.

Sidney is responsive and using small movements like a thumbs-up, to communicate with her parents. Doctors performed spinal surgery on Alexis Wednesday, who managed to wave at her parents afterwards.

We're also learning more about the parasailing company that was towing the girls when they crashed Monday. It's not the first incident of this type for Aquatic Adventures.

Almost immediately after Monday's parasailing crash that critically injured 17-year-olds Sidney Good and Alexis Fairchild, people began questioning the judgement of the parasailing operator, Aquatic Adventures.

Why were they offering rides with potentially threatening weather approaching?

Apparently high winds began dragging the parachute toward shore. Witnesses say the operator tried to reel-in the girls, but the cable broke.

The wind carried the girls and hit the top of the Commodore Condominium building, then hit a power line and landed in the parking lot.

This isn't the first time aquatic adventures has had a similar incident.

"The case involving the two girls from Indiana who were hurt just two days ago is strikingly similar to the case i have against this company that's ongoing right now," said Attorney Wes Pittman.

The two teenagers involved in that 2009 case were also from Indiana. The big difference is they landed in the water after their rope snapped.

Another incident with the company involved a woman being run over by a jet ski. They settled the case in 2010 for $650,000.

Attorneys say they're seeing more of these type cases against parasailing operations.

"There's a conflict between the employees that are trying to sell the rides. They get paid on commission typically and so their motivation is to sell more rides. They're not necessarily looking at the weather to say maybe we shouldn't go up at this point," said Attorney Waylon Thompson.

The Coast Guard and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are still collecting evidence in Monday's crash.

Aquatic Adventures also released a statement Wednesday, expressing sympathy for the injured girls, as well as something of a defense of the company's operations and a disclaimer about the unpredictable nature of weather.

WJHG

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