Local News

Parasail captain charged in women's 2009 deaths

Posted September 26, 2012 1:08 p.m. EDT
Updated September 26, 2012 1:36 p.m. EDT

— 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.