Disabled skier, John O'Neill (54) was running the slalom course at 32 mph when he had a fall and his head most likely went through the handle bridle. John was killed instantly when the rope came tight.
John was a one armed skier who would put his arm through the handle and grab his vest. The pull from the boat would transfer to his elbow. In this way he was able to ski well and was ranked #2 nationally in his division.
Darrell emailed me this morning and asked me to call him and help him deal with this situation since it had just happened to us 13 months earlier.
This incident evoked all of the emotion of Brett Yager's accident, and I'm not sure if I was able to help in anyway, but at least we both talked about it.
Darrell and Crystal had been guests at Ski Paradise a number of years ago and on the week they were in Acapulco, Brett Yager was their coach! Not only that, but they knew the Pennsylvania police officer who died in a similar accident! Incredible!
Darrell had told me that he thought that putting one's head through a bridle was exclusively a shortline slalom possibility, but this accident proves it can happen at any speed and line length.
I had said recently that this type of accident is a one in ten million possibility, but with two accidents happening so close together, the odds are much greater than that.
One thing is for sure: it will happen again.
After Darrell and Crystal work their way through this tough time, they will be like me in promoting more safety in our sport. The DeBey's will require safety netting on everyone's handle when skiing at their lake in the future.
If anyone wants to send their sympathies to Darrell and Crystal and to the family of John O'Neill you can email Darrell at: