Captain indicted after fatal parasailing accident in U.S. Virgin Islands

The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:

(MIAMI) — A federal grand jury has issued an indictment charging a boat captain with the death of a woman in a parasailing excursion last year in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

A Coast Guard special agent with Coast Guard South East Region Criminal Investigation Services, announced Kyle Coleman, 32, was arrested Wednesday and made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge, Ruth Miller, in district court. He was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond and is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 14.

Coleman was conducting parasailing excursions Nov. 15, 2011, when a passenger, Bernice G. Kraftcheck, was killed. According to the indictment, Kraftcheck and her daughter, Danielle Haese, were hoisted into the air for the parasail ride as wind conditions were deteriorating. The strong winds and a weak tow-line caused the tow-line to break, resulting in the parasail separating from the vessel and the two women falling into the water causing the death of Kraftcheck and serious injuries to Haese.

“After the tragic event last November, Coast Guard marine casualty investigators and special agents from San Juan and our Marine Safety Detachment in St Thomas aggressively investigated this matter leading toWednesday’s arrest of the defendant and the surrender of his merchant mariners license in June,” said Capt. Drew W. Pearson, Sector San Juan commander.“ The Coast Guard takes safety at sea very seriously, and will ensure that any mariner who causes another’s death through misconduct, negligence, and inattention to his duties is held accountablein a court of law.”

This matter is being investigated by the United States Coast Guard, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Everard E. Potter.

By Professional Mariner Staff