|By Tonya Alanez, South Florida
Sun-SentinelMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Aug. 29, 2007 - The father of a 15-year-old girl who died after an Aug. 18 parasailing accident in Pompano Beach filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Broward Circuit Court.
The lawsuit alleges negligence on the part of Pompano Beach Water Sports, boat captain Scott Kipp, and Wyndham Vacation Resorts, where the White family was staying and that promoted the parasailing activity to its guests, according to the suit.
Sisters Amber and Crystal White, of Summerfield, near Ocala, were parasailing off Pompano Beach when their parasail rope snapped. The girls were thrown into the roof of a hotel and several trees, according to a Broward County Sheriff's Office report.
The impact broke Amber's neck and caused head injuries. She went into a coma and was declared brain dead a day later. Her sister, 17, was hospitalized with less serious injuries.
The girls' father, Dennis White, of Shorewood, Ill., is seeking medical and funeral expenses and other damages. The girls' mother, Shannon Kraus, scheduled a news conference for this morning to announce a separate lawsuit and discuss efforts to get parasailing safety legislation passed in Tallahassee.
Dennis White's lawsuit says the defendants breached their duty to ensure guests' safety by taking the White sisters parasailing "in extraordinarily dangerous weather conditions" and "failed to ensure that the parasailing company was properly equipped with a radio and the necessary equipment to ensure the safety of its passengers."
A weather advisory to offshore boats, issued about 40 minutes before Kipp took the boat out, warned of thunderstorms and high winds.
"Now we can do everything to find out who was negligent and what went wrong," said White's Plantation-based attorney, Jason Chalik. "You assume that somebody is regulating this or is looking out for your safety. In this case, nobody was looking out for these girls."
Investigators continue to investigate the cause of the crash and whether criminal charges are warranted against Kipp, 26, of Pompano Beach.
Kipp's attorney, Roderick Coleman, said, "I don't want to call a lawsuit premature, but all the facts have not been investigated yet."
He said he plans to respond to the lawsuit within 20 days as required.
Coleman has said his client received no weather advisory on his radio's emergency channel and that "the day was perfect for parasailing."
Attempts to contact Wyndham Vacation Resorts by phone and e-mail late Tuesday were unsuccessful.
Now that the family has filed a lawsuit, it can subpoena Kipp "to find out exactly what his skills are and to find out what he was thinking that day," Chalik said.
Staff Writer Macollvie Jean-Francois contributed to this report.
Tonya Alanez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-356-4542.
ONLINE To read the lawsuit in its entirety, go to Sun-Sentinel.com/broward
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