Tourist dies while parasailing off Longboat Key

11:14 PM, Jun 28, 2011   |    comments
David Sieradzki
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Longboat Key, Florida - It was supposed to be a fun adventure parasailing off Longboat Key, but on Monday afternoon a tourist aboard the boat Almost Heaven died on the excursion.

The boat was operated by Fun N Sun Parasail on Bradenton Beach. Workers there on Tuesday had no comment on the incident.

The Coast Guard and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are investigating.

According to Coast Guard Cmdr. Peter Martin, David Sieradzki was about 800 feet in the air when the boat had engine problems and slowed to a crawl. The 31-year-old tourist from South Carolina came down to the water, but it's unclear how hard his landing was.

"There are some conflicting stories," said Martin at a Tuesday news conference. "It's not entirely clear what happened when he descended to the water, so we're trying to reconcile the various witness statements."

When Sieradzki was pulled to the boat he was unresponsive. CPR and emergency breathing by the boat's crew and later by a Coast Guard rescue crew could not revive him.

According to Sieradzki's father-in-law Bud Hazel, Sieradzki was on vacation with his wife Stephanie, his parents and sisters. Hazel says his daughter has been so distraught on the phone, that it has been difficult to determine what happened. He called Sieradzki a "great guy" and a "perfect son-in-law".  

At least some of Sieradzki's family members were on the boat during the failed rescue attempt. "This is a terrible tragedy for the family and the community of Longboat Key and I'd like to extend our profound condolences to the family," said Martin.

This is the second parasailing-related fatality locally in less than a year's time. Last fall a tourist from Georgia died after a cable snapped and she was dragged by the wind across Clearwater Beach.

The death of Alejandra White, 27, spurred proposed safety regulations for the parasailing industry, but that legislation failed to pass.

Kathryn Bursch

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