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Man who fell 800 feet in parasailing accident drowned after surviving fall

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The St. Petersburg Times (FL) newspaper reported on August 27, 2011 that an autopsy performed on a parasailor who fell from 800 feet survived the fall but subsequently drowned before being rescued despite the fact that he was wearing a life jacket and was known to be a good swimmer.

South Carolina resident David Sieradzki, age 31, died June 27, 2011 after his parasail drifted down into the Gulf waters near Sarasota beach on Florida’s west coast when the boat pulling him lost speed and could not keep him aloft.

Witnesses said Sieradzke appeared to land fine and they even saw him waving his hands. But by the time he was pulled into a boat he was dead.

Dr. Russell Vega, chief medical examiner for Manatee, Sarasota and DeSoto counties, determined Sieradzki drowned, and called the death an accident. Vega said, "We presumed he lost consciousness," adding that investigators ruled out other factors that could cause drowning such as physical injuries, weather, intoxication and entanglement in the parasailing equipment. "Unfortunately, there’s just no way to determine what risk factor caused him to drown," Vega said.

Sieradzke was the second tourist to die in a parasaining incident off Florida’s west coast within the past year. Alejandra White, age 27, a Georgia resident was killed in September, 2010 when the tow rope snapped while she and her fiance were parasailing along Clearwater Beach.