Parasailer gets stuck in mast of sailboat |

Parasailer gets stuck in mast of sailboat

Rick Chandler

A Lake Tahoe parasailer collided with a sailboat and became entangled in the rigging on Saturday, requiring a lengthy rescue.

No one was seriously injured in the morning incident, in which two boats owned by the same company ran afoul of each other about a mile due north of Timber Cove pier. The unidentified parasailer, being towed by a speedboat owned by Action Sports, drifted into the sails of the Windsong, a 65-foot sailboat owned by the same company. The hapless thrillseeker became entangled near the top of the 66-foot mast, and remained there for 20 minutes.

“When I arrived, the crews of both boats were in the process of devising a way to get him down,” said Coast Guard bosun’s mate second-class Lance Stumpf, who responded to the scene along with the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department and the South Lake Tahoe Police Department. “It looked like a good, safe plan so we let them continue.”

That plan involved fitting the man to a parasail harness and hooking that to the halyard with a safety line, and then lowering him to the deck. The man reported only a minor ache in his right knee. He refused treatment at the scene and was driven by his wife to Barton Memorial Hospital for X-rays.

“I went down to Barton with the gentleman, and he appears to be fine,” said Action Sports manager Bob Hassett. “He had a couple of scrapes but that’s it. We’re really proud of our safety record and I’m glad things turned out OK. It was a unique situation for us.”

No one was cited in the incident, but the Marine Safety Office is conducting an investigation, according to Stumpf.

“This is the first time I’ve seen something like this,” Stumpf said. “Most of our calls involve engine failure or boaters getting stranded in one way or another. I’ve never had to figure out a way to get someone down from the top of a mast.”

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