Local News

Dead woman's family calls for parasailing regulations

Posted August 31, 2009 3:57 p.m. EDT
Updated September 21, 2009 9:35 a.m. EDT

— The family of a woman killed Friday in a parasailing accident said Monday that the state needs to regulate the activity.

Cynthia Woodcock, 60, of Kernersville, and Lorrie Shoup, 55, of Granby, Colo., went parasailing off Ocean Isle Beach while on a trip with Woodcock's aunt, Sybil Carpenter of Cary, and another friend. The tow rope for their parasail snapped, and Woodcock and Shoup plummeted into the choppy water. An autopsy showed they died of blunt force trauma.

"I'm trying to control it right now. I'm doing everything I can," said Woodcock's son, Bart Woodcock.

He described his mother as having a bubbly personality and said she adored her two grandsons. A memorial service for her was scheduled for Monday night.

"I can't believe I lost my mom this way, and I want to know if it could have been avoided," he said.

The Coast Guard is investigating the incident, including the weather conditions near Ocean Isle Beach at the time of the accident. Tropical Storm Danny was kicking up wind and waves along much of the coast on Friday, but tropical storm watches that covered the Outer Banks didn't extend southward to Ocean Isle Beach.

Bart Woodcock's wife, Tyisha, said she can't understand why the boat went out at all in the choppy waters, especially with several families aboard.

"There were kids on the boat, and the kids were crying before this even happened because the water was so rough," Tyisha Woodcock said. "Little kids had to witness this. They had to take part in this. I can't even imagine what they're going through, what the other woman's family is going through."

N.C. Watersports, the company that operated the parasailing boat, is closed for the summer, according to a message on its answering machine.

Neither the Coast Guard nor the state Department of Labor regulate parasailing operators. Officials said it is considered a recreational activity, like hang-gliding or skydiving.

"If it's not regulated, then it needs to be," Tyisha Woodcock said.

Bart Woodcock said he's determined to get state lawmakers to pass regulations on the industry.

"I've never been more determined to do anything in my life," he said. "I'm not going to stop. You can bet on that."