Two Lebanon teens captured key evidence in a Florida parasailing accident.
Grace Gallaher, a 15-year-old Friendship Christian student, and Hayley Gatlin, a 15-year-old Lebanon High School student, were just enjoying their vacation as they sat on Panama City Beach on Monday.
“It was pretty outside at first; we were laying on our beach chairs,” said Gallaher. “We saw a raincloud, and we were thinking about packing up. The parasail was out [over] the ocean, and the storm cloud was coming toward us.”
She grabbed her cellphone and snapped a picture.
“It was really pretty,” said Gallaher.
Soon after, the girls gathered their stuff to leave as the storm moved closer.
“We got to the parking lot where our bikes were, and we heard some people scream,” said Gatlin. “We looked up, and then we saw the parasail with the two girls in it.”
As the storm blew in, a gust of wind had apparently broken the line connecting the parasail to the boat.
The wind blew the parasailers, identified as Sidney Good,17, and Alexis Fairchild, 17, both of Roanoke, Ind., against and over a building of condominiums.
“A big gust of wind came and blew them onto the electrical wires,” said Gatlin.
The wind then slammed them into a tree before they eventually landed on an SUV in a parking lot.
“We felt really helpless,” said Gatlin.
After Gallaher and Gatlin returned to their beach house, Gallaher thought of the quick photo she’d taken.
“I realized I had taken a picture of the girls before it happened,” said Gallaher.
She took the photo to a Panama City news station, which then provided the photo to authorities investigating the case.
“The Coast Guard has been looking at the photo and trying to determine the weather [prior to the accident],” said Gallaher.
The parasailers were initially listed in critical condition, but the girls’ parents told media Friday the girls were showing signs of improvement.