Skip to comments.High Winds cause Parasailing Death (behind a tractor!)
Posted on 02/08/2006 4:49:00 AM PST by Mikey_1962
Gusty winds were blamed for a bizarre accident that killed the son of a local TV weatherman who was parasailing behind a tractor, a family friend said Monday.
The tragedy happened about 12:15 p.m. Sunday at the Robinson residence of Don Greene, a meteorologist for local television station KXXV. He and his son, 24-year-old James Greene, of Austin, were enjoying the day together when they decided the weather was right to go parasailing.
Normally, parasailing is done over water with a boat pulling someone hitched to a parachute-like canopy. The idea is for the rider to fly into the air, assisted by the parachute.
But there is also a form of the sport known as terrestrial parasailing in which the rider is pulled over land by a motor vehicle. In the case of Greene and his son, they used a farm tractor, family friend Rob Sellers said.
The way it is supposed to work, Sellers said, is that someone drives the tractor until the rider is picked up by the wind. Tethered to the vehicle by a rope, the rider then flies until the tractor stops.
But on Sunday, as Don Greene was driving the tractor with his son in back, the wind proved so strong it picked the tractor up off the ground, Sellers said. That caused the rope holding James Greene to break and he went free-flying into the air, he said.
Initially, Greene hit the ground, Sellers said. But then the wind picked up his parasail again, and he was thrown over a fence and into a tree about 500 feet away. The impact injured him severely, Sellers said, noting that Greene landed in the branches of the tree and had to be removed.
A family member called 9-1-1 as soon as the accident happened, Sellers said. Within about a minute, a fire truck was at Greene's house on East Rocket Road. The Robinson Volunteer Fire Department happened to be putting out a grass fire a couple of houses down and was able to respond immediately.
Once Greene's injuries were assessed, he was loaded into a helicopter for transport to Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center, Sellers said. He died shortly thereafter.
"It's just a tragic accident," Sellers said. "This isn't the first time they had ever done this."
One of the things that comforts the family, Sellers said, is that James Greene had been enjoying what was a perfect day for him. He had seen his best friend, worked on cars, done some target shooting and eaten great food, he said.
"He got to do everything he wanted to do," Sellers said, adding that Greene was married and worked at an Austin company called Data Movers.
According to the National Weather Service, the average wind speed Sunday was 14 miles per hour, with gusts of up to 37 miles per hour.
Lt. Tracy O'Connor of the Robinson Police Department said officials are not investigating the incident and that no charges are being considered against Don Greene, who is also a professor at Baylor University.
"It was just an unfortunate accident," O'Connor said. "I've never heard of anyone parasailing behind a tractor, but it's not against the law."
Hold muh microphone and watch this!
This doesn't sound like a Darwin candidate to me. Sounds like a tragic accident. My sympathies to the family.
My condolences to the family. But if the wind was strong enough to pick up a tractor, it might not have been a good ideas to go 'land sailing'.
Or, otherwise known as... Proof there's a very fine line between "living life on the edge" and "nature's way of weeding out the stupid".
When one of the other families arrived, they found the two guys trying to get one's jeep dug out of the sandy shoreline where it's front end had sunk into a deep hole along the water's edge. Asking how it had happened, they were told the two were water skiing when the boat broke down. Not to be discouraged, they decided they could tie the rope to the back of the jeep and one would ski along the water's edge while the other drove the jeep.
End of story!
Nope. A tragedy is a story in which the protagonist meets his demise because of a flaw in his character that proves fatal. Sophocles wrote tragedies.
This guy was just a dumbass.
I used to water ski in the irrigation canal on 2x4 boards behind a car.
A few years back I watched a Navy team of skydivers get blown out to sea by sudden wind gusts. One died. I guess he was a dumbass and Darwin candidate, too.
A 37mph wind picked up a TRACTOR!?!? Was it one of those papier mache and balsa wood tractors?
That's what I was thinking. What kind of tractor could get rolled by a strong breeze??? Unless it was a garden tractor, or some other vehicle the idiot reporter mistook as a tractor, never having seen one from his loft window in Manhattan.
"they decided they could tie the rope to the back of the jeep and one would ski along the water's edge while the other drove the jeep."
We did this a lot in high skrool.
Still, picked up the back of a tractor? More likely he slowed down, got slack in the rope, and broke it when he ran over it.
More than likely, the tractor was lifted when the wind impacted the parachute...
I was in Waco this past weekend, and the wind was howling. North Texas is windy anyway, and seems during our recent year-long drought the winds have been worse.
My thoughts exactly.
Sorry, I have no problem with risk sports - I am, myself, a Class V whitewater kayaker who has had some close calls in my long, long, river years. But, this just sounds stupid.. Much closer to "dumbass" than to navy skydivers IMHO.
Your forgetting that there was a giant kite attached to the tractor.
If you wish to twist it, you're welcome to. I'm comparing two people, each doing an event with some risk, finding themselves caught up in unexpected, powerful forces of nature.
Yet people here are falling all over themselves to lump this young man in with goobers using Bic lighters to peer down gas tanks or surfing atop SUVs at highway speed. I really don't see the comparison.
From what I could Goggle, it looks like the maximum diameter on a chute-shaped kite is around 42 feet which can lift 600 pounds with stability in 12 MPH winds, it is feasible that a 37MPH gust could lift and drop a 1500 pound tractor, throwing the driver off and tangling the rider in the harness as the ropes began to break away.
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