Local News

Parasail captain charged in women's 2009 deaths

Posted September 26, 2012

— Federal authorities have charged the captain of a parasailing boat in the 2009 deaths of two women off Ocean Isle Beach.

Prosecutors filed a criminal information last Friday against Thomas Povozan, charging him with violations of the Seaman's Manslaughter Statute. Such filings usually indicate a plea agreement is being negotiated and that no grand jury indictment will be needed.

Cynthia Woodcock, 60, of Kernersville, and Lorrie Shoup, 55, of Granby, Colo., died on Aug. 28, 2009, when the tow line to their parasail broke, and high winds sent the parasail plunging 500 feet into the water.

The boat, Tied High, was operated by Ocean Isle Beach Watersports and NC Watersports.

The Tied High crew said during a Coast Guard inquiry in 2009 that a sudden gust of wind caught them off guard. The winds were so strong that the boat almost capsized before the tow line broke, they said.

Povozan said during the inquiry that he was unaware the National Weather Service had issued an advisory that day to warn small boats of choppy conditions as Tropical Storm Danny passed offshore.

Prosecutors allege Povozan was negligent in not checking marine weather forecasts before or during the parasailing trip, not providing the women with instructions on how to handle an emergency situation and not having a suitable rescue plan.

A federal judge in Wilmington last week ordered the company that insured Tied High and its owners to finish paying a $100,000 settlement to the women's families.

7 Comments

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  • ashcash21 Sep 27, 3:25 p.m.

    I get that the captain of the boat should have paid attention to the weather warnings. I'm sure as a captain, and an NC resident, they probably knew about the conditions surrounding Tropical Storms.

    But I also believe those women were just as negligent. Just as the captain should have paid attention to the weather warnings, shouldn't the women? Why were their families awarded ANY money?

  • 4Strikes Sep 26, 5:42 p.m.

    I remember when this happened. The captain was negligent. Taking anyone up in a parasail in that weather is wrong, a 55 and a 60 year old woman is just plain dumb. I wonder how the civil case turned out.

  • Scubagirl Sep 26, 5:09 p.m.

    just as ignorance of the law is no excuse, so should be ignorance of the weather in something like this.

    smh at what some will do and/or risk for the almighty dollar.

  • jcthai Sep 26, 4:14 p.m.

    scubagirl, indeed! Pilots are expected to check before every flight for weather and NOTAM's (Notice to Airmen) that might apply to their flight. Every now and then (just recently in fact) you get pilots who don't check fly into airspace that has been restricted temporarily. They are in trouble because the NOTAMs are there to inform them.

  • Coolbreeze Sep 26, 4:07 p.m.

    So let me get this right....Tropical Storm Danny just showed up from no-where....Yeah right....Povazan was more then negligent...he really dumb to think someone beleives that story.

  • uragoner2 Sep 26, 3:03 p.m.

    Should have been $100k per person.

  • Scubagirl Sep 26, 2:32 p.m.

    "Povozan said during the inquiry that he was unaware the National Weather Service had issued an advisory that day to warn small boats of choppy conditions as Tropical Storm Danny passed offshore."

    ummmmm, IF you're going to be operating a BOAT off shore one would THINK that you'd darn well be following the weather forecast.......Been on a lot of boats off shore and not once did the captain not know about the weather, and in fact several to many times we didn't go out because of it.