When Katie Malone decided to try parasailing for her 29th birthday, she probably expected that nothing would go wrong. However, when the line snapped, she was left drifting in the air for 45 minutes as her family watched on in horror from the ground, and while one of their friends filmed the incident.
According to News 8000, Katie Malone had only just started her parasailing adventure when it went terribly wrong. While the “first few minutes went fine,” Katie soon discovered that she was traveling in the wrong direction to the vehicle that was supposed to be pulling her through the air. It was then that she realized the line had snapped and she was dangerously drifting without direction.
For 45 minutes, Katie Malone drifted along on prevailing winds before crash-landing at an airport located nearly two miles away from her starting location.
During that time, Katie careened dangerously close to balconies at a resort. So close, in fact, that she could hear the terrified screams of people there.
However, while this was a drastic situation, Katie Malone used her previous experience from skydiving to assist her. As she started traveling down the coastline, Katie used her feet as an anchor. Grabbing the broken rope with her feet, she “put her hands in the air and steered the parasail as best she could with her feet,” according to her brother, Brendan Malone.
“She was praying the whole time for her safety. She was mostly concerned about breaking her arms and legs,” Brendan Malone said.
However, even with her skydiving experience, Katie Malone passed out during the parasailing incident.
Then, when she finally crashed, 45 minutes later, those attempting to rescue her had to scare off a nearby alligator before they could get close to the injured woman.
PARASAILING ACCIDENT: Katie Malone, a 29-year-old from San Diego, was badly injured during a parasailing ride in Mexico; lawmakers are helping make arrangements to get her back to the United States. @DavidMuir reports. https://t.co/IZGykpdNdU pic.twitter.com/rrQZg2NtOu— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) June 27, 2018
Mexico News Daily states that Katie Malone ended up spending weeks in a Jalisco hospital after suffering substantial injuries as a result of the parasailing incident. Here she endured several surgeries, but doctors expect she will make a full recovery. However, it will likely be months before she can walk again.
Katie received “cuts to her face, a fractured pelvis and skull, four broken ribs and a collapsed and bleeding lung.”
As a result of Katie’s injuries, a fundraising campaign has been started to help bring Katie back to the U.S. Mexico News Daily reports that it has already raised nearly $50,000. On Tuesday, she was flown to San Antonio, Texas, and is expected to undergo further treatment there.
Former U.S. Rep. Duncan L. Hunter has also helped with the financial arrangements for the family.
“Once we got him involved, everything just went real smooth. He had some contacts. I believe he even contacted the consulate in Washington, D.C. and then after that everything just went really, super fast,” said Katie’s father, Kelly Malone.
It is likely the incident occurred as a result of strong winds caused by an incoming storm. Not only did Katie’s rope snap, but the force of the wind gusts caused the parasailing company’s boat to flip over in the water.
According to Katie’s brother, Brendan, the parasailing company involved disappeared fairly quickly after the incident occurred.
“We’re beyond unhappy,” he said. “Those guys left the scene of the crime. They flipped the boat back over and… bailed while my sister was floating away.”
As a result, their family has received offers of assistance in relation to possible legal action against the parasailing company involved.
While Katie Malone’s 29th birthday celebrations will definitely be one she will never forget, it will be all for the wrong reasons.