NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The sign from a banner plane ripped through two parasailers' parachute last weekend, forcing them to make an emergency landing.
The parasailing pair are brothers who were visiting from Virginia for the Fourth of July. Their fun took a turn for the worse when one of the boys saw the plane coming straight towards them.
The two boys went out with the North Myrtle Beach Parasailing crew. As they were up in the air, they noticed the plane flying very close to them. The older of the two, Riley, said he knew something wasn't right.
"It looked really close to the parasail, and I was really scared it was going to hit the actual parachute," Riley Jorgenson said.
Riley, 14, and his brother, 12, were first to see the plane.
Statements were collected from the two boys, the driver of the boat, the manager of North Myrtle Beach Parasailing, and the captain of the banner plane.
"The FAA limits all the folks in Myrtle Beach to 300 feet, and that's because of the banner planes that fly the beach with us - they have to fly at 500 feet," David Sage explained. Sage owns Ocean Watersports in Myrtle Beach.
In addition to FAA rules, the City of North Myrtle Beach has articles regulating parasailing operations and training of their crews.
Sage explained all parasailing companies in the area have a meeting with banner plane pilots every spring to talk about safety.
"We hash it all out and talk about what we could do better. We've never had any close calls and I've been going to those meetings for 16 or 17 years," he said.
Although no one was hurt, the family said one of the boys is still very shaken up.
In his statement, he said:
"We were settled and I saw the plane coming at us. I got kind of worried and I panicked. After that, the ride continued. I was very scared on the way down, and then we landed on the boat. I would not recommend this ride to anyone."
His older brother says he was trying to comfort his brother and remain calm but knew the plane could have done a lot of damage.
"I was really scared the plane would take the parachute and both of them would go down. The plane wouldn't be flying right and the parachute wouldn't be flying right, so we would go into the water. I was really scared about that," Riley said.
The father of the boys was on the beach when he heard of the accident. He didn't know at the time it was during his sons' turn. The family says they are happy to be okay, but realize this could have been much worse.