UPDATE: Teens still critical after parasailing crash

Published: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 at 12:53 PM.

Friends and family turned to Twitter and Facebook to offer prayers and support under the tag #prayforsidneyandalexis. Family members said on Facebook that both girls were undergoing a series of surgeries at a local hospital for their injuries. 

An individual answering the phone at Aquatic Adventures, the parasailing company that owned the boat, said the company would have no comment.

In May of this year the Florida Legislature failed to pass a bill that would have regulated the parasailing industry. James Vaught, a managing partner of Aquatic Adventures in Panama City Beach, spoke to the News Herald in April about his opposition to the bill.

“It’s a lot of bad information,” Vaught said of the bill. “We’re just not being looked at correctly… we’re being looked at like a bunch of rogue pirates.”

Aquatic Adventures controls the largest parasail fleet in the U.S., with 11 boats operating out of three area marinas and 60 beach locations, Vaught said then.

The bill would have prevented any parasail apparatus from operating within 1,800 feet of the shore and required boat operators to have a radio on board to monitor weather conditions and would prohibit parasailing during sustained winds of more than 20 mph, in rainy conditions and in times of poor visibility.

Vaught said he believes it should be up to industry leaders to regulate themselves, and spoke in support of a set of international safety standards for parasailing under development by the Water Sports Industry Association (WSIA) in Orlando.

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