Monday, August 31 2009 11:15 AM EDT2009-08-31 16:15:15 GMT
Officials say 56-year-old Lorrie Shoup from Granby, Colorado and 60-year-old Cynthia Collins Woodcock of Kernersville, North Carolina died in a parasailing accident Friday afternoon at Ocean Isle Beach.More >>
BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – A boat captain who was driving during a fatal parasailing accident in 2009 pleaded guilty before a United States District Judge Wednesday to a violation of the Seaman's Manslaughter Act.
Thomas Povazan was a licensed mariner, working as the captain of the boat, Tied High, in connection with a parasailing business operation.
According to the Department of Justice, two women died because of his negligence. During the trial, Povazan claimed he was unaware of any weather advisory the day he took Cynthia Woodcock and Lorrie Shoup parasailing off Ocean Isle Beach.
The National Weather Service, however, had issued a small craft advisory warning that day, noting that seas in excess of 6ft were expected to produce hazardous conditions. The NWS issued several other warnings throughout the day, including a statement declaring wind gusts were expected to be up to 30 mph.
The Department of Justice said Povazan did not check the weather report before taking customers out on the boat.
Woodcock and Shoup were already parasailing when Povazan realized the winds were too strong. The DOJ said the boat captain tried to recover the towline, but it broke and the two women fell into the ocean surface and were dragged through the water. They were both killed during the accident.
"We hope that the families of the deceased victims will take some comfort from this prosecution, knowing that Mr. Povazan will be held responsible for his criminally negligent conduct," said United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker in a press release.