Rope Breaks During Parasailing Session


Parasailing Expert WitnessThis extreme sports case involves injury from a parasailing accident, during which the plaintiff was parasailing with his friend. During the activity the rope snapped. They collided into a building, hit power lines, and were dragged by powerful winds causing them to crash into several cars in the parking lot. The plaintiff required extensive treatment, and several bones in his spine were fused together. The plaintiff alleges that the rope used was deficient, claiming that it was already old when put on the boat, and as a result its integrity had been compromised.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1.) How strong are ropes used in parasailing, if properly maintained, and what is the chief reason a rope like the one in this case would fail?

Expert Witness Response E-007931

I am familiar with this case and am interested in reviewing further. There are a lot of different types/sizes used in the industry. The most commonly used would be 3/8 or 7/16 double braid which has an approximate break strength of 6000 lbs. The ropes will break when they exceed their rated strength, most fail at the bowline knot which attaches the line to the parasail. Usually before the line parts the parasail winch will stall in order to relieve tension on the line. I also have experience testing a parachute that was used in a parasailing accident which resulted in a fatality at the request of a local police department.

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