An Australian millionaire was killed after his safety harness apparently failed during a freak parasailing accident on Kata Beach in Phuket, Thailand on Wednesday. Roger John Hussey, 70, and his Thai wife, Budsabong Thongsangka, were 10 days into their vacation when tragedy struck.
His wife handed video of the accident over to Thai police. The video appeared on Facebook.com soon after.
The video shows a crew member adjusting Mr. Hussey’s safety harness. Notice the old, frayed, weatherbeaten straps that hang loosely around his legs.
Hussey appeared apprehensive and nervous as he smiled for his wife. Notice he is holding the rig straps incorrectly.
The straps are upside down and the parasail rig lines are trapped under his arms as they lift off.
A crew member noticed the straps were in the wrong position and signaled the boat captain to stop. The boat slowed and the tow line went slack.
The parasailor, identified as Rungroj Rakscheep, 38, threw his legs over the rigging and sat upright. That’s when he noticed the rig straps caught under Hussey’s arms.
Rakscheep is seen jerking on Hussey’s arms, trying to get the nervous man to let go of the straps.
You’ll get a better understanding of the correct position of the rig straps when you watch the 2nd video below.
Hussey is seen briefly extending his arms to the side, then he panicked, and somehow slipped out of the harness and plunged 250 feet into shallow water.
Rakscheep tried desperately to save him, but he is left holding Hussey’s empty harness.
Crew members are seen rushing into the shallow water to pull Hussey to shore. He was still breathing when medics arrived but he died later at a hospital.
Thai police arrested the parasailor and the boat captain Montien Chandeng, 45.
One popular theory about why the harness failed is Mr. Hussey probably panicked and accidentally pulled a hook that released the safety harness.
The 1st video below shows the tragic accident. The 2nd video shows how the parasail rig should look in the normal position. The video was recorded by a tourist on the same beach last year.
When the boat picks up speed and the parachute gains altitude the rigging is taut enough for the parasailor to sit on.
Notice the parasail straps are in the correct upright position, and the straps are not trapped under the man’s arms.
A better view of the rig strap attached to the safety harness. The parasailor angles his body to steer/turn the parachute and to make it descend.