(NEW YORK) — Linda and Dave Murray are speaking out nearly a year after losing their 13-year-old daughter Cassidy in a tubing accident in Aruba, hoping to prevent a similar tragedy from happening to anyone else.
“It’s coming up on almost a year since she passed. And, you know, since day one — our goal has always been to create awareness, to prevent another family from going through this,” Linda Murray told ABC News’ Good Morning America.
In March 2022, the Murrays took a family vacation, and a day before they were scheduled to go home, their daughter wanted to go tubing. Dave Murray joined his daughter tubing out in the water with Fun 4 Every 1, which advertised itself as giving “the best watersports adventure of Aruba.”
Dave Murray said that five minutes into the ride, his daughter was ejected into the water. When they went to retrieve her, Dave Murray said the boat driver lost control.
“She was in the water, had a life jacket on. I waved at her. She was safe,” Dave Murray said. “As [the boat driver] approached Cassidy, just as he got to her, he lost control of the boat. … He pulled it in full throttle.”
ABC News reached out to the owner of Fun 4 Every 1 for comment but has not received a response.
After the boat hit Cassidy, Dave Murray said the boat driver “froze” before helping him get his daughter back to shore.
“The gentleman driving the boat, he had no first aid,” Dave Murray said. “If there was a second person on the boat, even if there was a spotter, he would have seen we would have had an option to slow it down or he would have seen as soon as Cassidy was ejected.”
The prosecutor’s office in Aruba reviewing the Murrays’ case said it has found no criminal offense in Cassidy’s death.
Prosecutors told ABC News in a statement, in part, that “many tourists engage in all kinds of water sports activities. Unfortunately, in the specific case, this led to a boating accident with a terrible outcome… There has been no evidence of a criminal offense and for that reason, the public prosecutor’s office is not involved in the settlement and handling of this accident.”
The Murrays said they’ve taken the case to the prime minister of Aruba and the tourism board in order to enact change.
Aruban officials told ABC News that “[t]he Government of Aruba takes seriously the safety and well-being of our visitors and residents,” and they “assess a wide range of current and potential safety protocols and take steps to ensure our rules and procedures are adhered to.”
Experts like Jim Emmons, the executive director of Water Sports Foundation, Inc., said that when booking excursions outside the U.S., use extra caution, including asking the company if it has a license and insurance, checking for safety equipment on board and making sure there’s an observer watching people in the water.
“You want to have other folks that are on the boat also looking out at all times,” Emmons said. “The regulations where you’re going may not be the same as they are in [the U.S.] … It’s buyer beware. Be careful. Do your due diligence.”
Linda Murray said her hope is that her daughter’s story can help prevent deadly accidents in the future.
“My hope is that someone is standing at the edge of the beach and about to step on a boat and says, ‘Wait, I remember that interview. Wait, remember what that family said? Maybe we should check for this. Maybe we should ask this question,"” she said.
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