Those of you living here in Mexico know how the Mexican papers love to display photos of gore, car accident victims and suicides. Those of you who don't just can't imagine how awful it is to turn the page in the paper and unexpectedly see a gruesome picture of somebody's body parts splayed all over the pavement after a car accident.
I had just such a shock a few days ago. I keep playing and replaying what happened over and over in my head. I share the story with you for two reasons: to try to get it out of my head and to point out to you the dangers of being a tourist in Mexico.*
Three robust USA tourist women were on holiday in Tulum. They decided they would like to go parasailing. Where you are pulled along by a boat. The people running this adventure would not let the three of them go up together due to their robustness. So the first one went up alone. Her turn over, her two friends got strapped in and went up together. Expecting a thrill ride but getting a terror ride instead.
Sometime after lifting off, the rope that was towing them broke. They were left on their own, high in the sky over the ocean. For some reason, they were not blown out to sea, which would have been immensely better for them, but instead were blown south along the coast. All the way to Akumal. I think it is about 15- 20 miles south of where they were in Tulum. (Jonna, Michelle or Heather, correct my distance here) At any rate, they were in the air for quite some time. Can you imagine their horror and the horror of their friend as she watched them disappear down the coast?
Sadly, their thrill ride came to an end when they crashed into the rocks and were dragged along. Hopefully they died instantly and did not suffer too much. The parasail kept going and must have lifted them off again with it. Their ride finally came to an end when the parasail got lodged on a balcony in Akumal and they crashed yet again. This time into a coconut tree and fell to the ground. Their fun filled day and lives over. Their crumbled, badly bruised bodies is what the newspaper decided to share with us. I almost cried looking at them. I tried not to imagine what their last few minutes were like but I keep playing it over and over in my mind.
The last I read the company had been shut down and were under investigation. I do know that they have been charged with something like manslaughter because they had not regularly replaced the pull rope as designated by law. Those things have a very short lifespan down here and need to be inspected for damage daily.**
We hear of these sorts of accidents all the time down here. Especially in Puerta Vallarta and Acapulco where parasailers routinely crash into the sides of hotels lining the beaches. And remember, Mexico has no liability laws so forget suing somebody because your loved one died a stupid and needless death. Just look at the boat that sunk in Cancun recently.
My advice: I wish I had some. You can't avoid everything or you will never experience anything new and possibly fun. Just be careful. If it doesn't look safe or if you have an edgy feeling, give it a pass and do something else.
* There are plenty of fun, safe things to do while a tourist here. Take a look at this post.
** Yesterday's paper reported that the driver of the boat and the guy who fastened them into the harnesses have been charged with negligent homicide. The harness guy is reported as "fleeing from justice" at the moment. The women were from South Dakota and 49 and 50 years old.