PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. – The owner of the company involved in a parasailing crash that seriously injured two Huntington County, Ind., girls in the Florida Panhandle said he's praying for their recovery.
"Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the families of the injured girls and we all pray for their speedy recovery," Aquatic Adventures owner Jeff Jones wrote in a statement to The News Herald (http://bit.ly/12IQv5P ). "While we adhere to best practices to minimize the risks associated with watersport activities, sudden weather conditions can and do occur."
Jones declined further comment, noting the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating Monday's crash.
The Coast Guard also is investigating the crash.
"The Coast Guard investigates all reportable marine casualties and accidents to determine the causal factors, so that through regulation and education we might prevent similar incidents from recurring," said Lt. John Authement, supervisor of the Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment in Panama City.
Sidney Renea Good of Roanoke and Alexis Fairchild of Huntington suffered serious injuries when the line from their parasail snapped. The 17-year-olds slammed into the side of a condominium and hit a power line before striking a parked car on the ground.
Witnesses said the strong winds that carried the girls to shore also sent beach chairs and umbrellas tumbling across the beach as a storm approached.
The teens remained hospitalized in critical condition Thursday in Panama City.
Their families have said both girls have head injuries and severe cuts. Additionally, Alexis has severe back injuries requiring surgery and Sidney has neck injuries, but the girls have been able to communicate through small hand gestures.
"While the situation is still critical we are encouraged by these very small signs of progress," the teens' families said in a statement Wednesday.