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Aussie Man Falls To Death From Parasail On Phuket Beach


snoop1130

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I am an ex-skydiver & military freefall parachutist, and former FAA Master Parachute Rigger as well with over 5,200 jumps made and I suspect suitably expert enough to comment on the technical aspects of this case. In the late 80s and early 90's, my best friend, a civilian realtor and waterskiing partner,  asked me to do some research and to procure for him a quality parasailing rig.  I did so, he paid for it and this launched us on a wonderful and exciting new adjunct sport that combined our two respective action sports into one. I carefully laid out a safety SOP, inspected and repaired the chute periodically and conducted a brief training class for anybody that we launched for a ride around our medium-sized lake located in Orange County, Virginia.  Fortunately we were the only parasailing rig in use on that lake and we also declined to launch during busy periods when several ski boats were operating. 

 

We made hundreds of launches, flights and recoveries, all made without a single problem.  The keys to this success were a sound, proper harness, using two assistants to spread the canopy during launch and a powerful ski boat to provide strong acceleration. At the end of the ride, the boat driver simply headed upwind, chopped power, which allowed the chute to float down and the rider simply splashed down into the water.  The chute provided sufficient forward airspeed to ensure it settled onto the water behind the rider. The boat would then circle around and retrieve the rider once we'd shifted the transmission into neutral.

 

The harness we we used was a special full saddle seat type, which allowed the rider to sit back in a relaxed manner and enjoy the ride. But it also featured two full length, adjustable diagonal back straps that ran diagonally across the whole back and one fixed-length cross strap that ran across the small of the wearer's back.  These three pieces of webbing ensured the rider could not fall backwards and thus out of the harness. A good harness will also have an adjustable cross strap on the chest that gets cinched down and the free end rolled and placed under a 1-inch elastic keeper.  All other adjustable harness free ends also were retained by such keepers. We also used aircraft grade snaps that were fixed spring-loaded types and had no quick-fit ejector releases such as are found on modern skydiving rigs. There was thus no way a rider could undo his harness easily once it was under tension from the chute and forward motion of the boat. A person bent on suicide or a dumb stunt could however undo the leg straps that were clipped into seat saddle, push off of the webbing saddle and plunge vertically downwards. Some parachute harnesses designed for skydiving do not employ a saddle seat, but independent leg straps.  In this latter design, the jumper has no convenient saddle to sit in but is simply suspended vertically. Their design too can be found in parasailing harnesses. 

 

The video of the incident at Phuket doesn't adequately show the full harness design, but my assumption is that if it featured diagonal back straps and a lower cross strap in the back,  they weren't sufficiently cinched down and loose ends properly stowed...or the design had no diagonals or lower cross strap at all, and the poor gent simply fell backwards out of his harness with nothing but his leg straps to keep him in. Once he fell upside down in his harness, those leg straps certainly wouldn't be sufficient to retain his weight aloft against gravity and he fell into the ocean.  From 70-meters, even a splashdown into a deep water area could still be fatal.  At the speed he impacted, that water is akin to concrete.  The only other explanation I can think of is that a stitching failure occurred and the webbing separated, which caused a loss of integrity in the harness.  The webbing itself is normally 2-inch nylon rated at 5,500 pounds tensile strength, but is dependent on the quality, stitch design and integrity of the nylon thread used to sew it together. 

 

This was indeed a tragic incident and I suspect entirely due to a combination of shoddy materials, a poor, inadequate harness design and likely to an atrocious lack of safety standards that should have been imposed in this cottage industry.  May Mr. Hussey Rest In Peace and I hope his bereaved wife and family can put this tragic incident behind them and remember the man for his goodness and character. 

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From the video it appears there was no crutch strap which I think should be mandatory  for any rides like this.

He probably slipped out of the strap across his behind and  he only had two handles with which to hang on. 

The assistant guy does some strange movement to get his legs above the victim, possibly putting extra weight on his shoulders..

He wasn't strong enough to hold on with his arms and had to let go.

Poor bugger RIP mate

 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, xerostar said:

 

From the video it appears there was no crutch strap which I think should be mandatory  for any rides like this.

He probably slipped out of the strap across his behind and  he only had two handles with which to hang on. 

The assistant guy does some strange movement to get his legs above the victim, possibly putting extra weight on his shoulders..

He wasn't strong enough to hold on with his arms and had to let go.

Poor bugger RIP mate

 

 

 

Yes, I agree...the Thai outrider may have well been a contributing or major cause of the incident. I would never go aloft with anyone positioned like that.  

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When I was in Pattaya a while back I was on the floating parasail platform watching the lineup to get harnessed up. A woman about 25, was put in a harness, but the boat took off before the harness fitting was completed.  The Thai guy fitting the harness jumped up on her shoulders and off they went to maximum height!  The nutter driving the boat went the usual route with the other hero sitting on her shoulders. I could not get my head around the stupidity.  The boat operator should have dropped them both in the water immediately.

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Riders on parasails are supposed to be passive and not have to adjust anything. Reports I saw on The Nation said the "helper" in the shrouds was working on the clip...not the rider. There is no concept of safety checks and when something goes wrong demy and lie.

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I see the full lenght of the video.  It is very clear, the wellow shirt crew did not strapped the passenger around his legs, there were only a bottom heveder,  and it was not in correct position, so the man slipped out from the harness, after the parasail canopy lifted him. Passenger can not open the clips under is weighted by his body,  after take off.

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16 hours ago, canuckamuck said:

They have a strap you can pull to drop to your death? What could go wrong?

Sympathies to the relatives, this shouldn't happen.

Surely they are stringing us along...obviously no ropey  Safety Inspectors 

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12 hours ago, Sheryl said:

:shock1:

 

Good grief.

 

When I did this (eons ago, when still young) only the paying customer went up.

 

I think even then, I would have balked at going up with someone balancing on the strings above me. Bizarre.,,and as we have just seen, of no help should anything go wrong.

 

 

each time i've gone up in Thailand, there was a worker who also grabbed on behind to help steer, etc;

when i went up in Puerto Vallarta Mexico, no worker up with me (but them again, it was a reward for sitting through

on interminable time share pitch, next time i vowed to skip the pitch and pay the money)

have gone up at least 3 times in Patong, they strap very tightly top and bottom, so if there was slack or no bottom tightness then that is a problem in how they strapped him in; there should not have been an easy way for him to disengage himself- this is error by the operators, not the customer

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41 minutes ago, xerostar said:

 

From the video it appears there was no crutch strap which I think should be mandatory  for any rides like this.

He probably slipped out of the strap across his behind and  he only had two handles with which to hang on. 

The assistant guy does some strange movement to get his legs above the victim, possibly putting extra weight on his shoulders..

He wasn't strong enough to hold on with his arms and had to let go.

Poor bugger RIP mate

 

 

 

According to the SMH, the straps between his legs were left undone...

Australian tourist Roger Hussey falls to death while parasailing in Phuket, Thailand

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28 minutes ago, Siameaze said:

Riders on parasails are supposed to be passive and not have to adjust anything. Reports I saw on The Nation said the "helper" in the shrouds was working on the clip...not the rider. There is no concept of safety checks and when something goes wrong demy and lie.

"Riders on parasails are supposed to be passive and not have to adjust anything."

 

Agree.  That was certainly the case when I parasailed in Cha Am many years ago.

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15 hours ago, halloween said:

I remember a video clip of a parasail, in Bali IIRC. The guy, quite fat, tripped as the boat took off and was dragged down the beach on his gut before the sail lifted him. He had lost a fair bit of skin, so the boat slowed and dipped him in the water, must have stung a bit because he was squealing like a stuck pig.

Squealing like a stuck pig is always a good sign, means you're not dead!!

The silent ones are in trouble..

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