Parasailing deaths prompt NTSB to crack down on safety

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Millions of people enjoy parasailing over lakes and beaches across the country, but many don't know that the industry is mostly unregulated.

In a special investigation report released Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board cites eight serious accidents in just four years, with eight people killed and three gravely injured. Equipment failure was a contributing factor in all but one of these accidents.

"I mean, people are not just getting hurt, they're getting killed," Alexis Fairchild tells TODAY's Kerry Sanders in an NBC News exclusive.

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Fairchild, along with a friend, was on her first parasailing ride last summer when the tow line slapped, slamming the two into a 13-story building before they crashed into a parking lot. They both survived.

As a result of this investigation, the NTSB is making new parasailing safety recommendations to the United States Coast Guard, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.

The parasail industry has been working with the federal government and says if regulations are reasonable, they are welcomed.

"What we'd like to see is the FAA work with the Coast Guard and develop the standards by which parasails should operate," says Tracy Murell, NTSB's director of Office of Marine Safety.

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— By Joy Jernigan, TODAY

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