Original Airdate: 9/11/14
It was a vacation nightmare when two teenagers slammed into a building during a parasailing disaster.
INSIDE EDITION’s Diane McInerney asked, “What’s your friendship like today?”
Sidney said, “Do I think it will ever be where it was? No.”
In July, 2013, Sidney and Alexis were on vacation in Panama City, Florida. Like typical teens, that meant two things. “Get tanned and meet boys,” as Sidney said.
And parasailing seemed like a safe thrill.
Sidney said, “I'd gone a couple years before. I was more nervous for her because she’s never done it.”
Alexis said, “I was scared. I’m afraid of heights but I’m going to do this and it’s a memory.”
The teens rode tandem and were up about a 1,000 feet up when the weather suddenly turned nasty. A storm was heading right at them.
McInerney asked, “Were you talking to each other at that time while you were in the air?”
Alexis said, “She was calming me down because I was freaking out."
Sidney said, “She tried to get out of the harness. She's like, ‘I got to get out of this. I got to get out of this. I got to jump in the water.’ I’m like, ‘You’re okay.' Thirty seconds later the rope snapped."
The girls were helplessly adrift. Winds were blowing the parasail at 70 miles-per-hour and straight towards a beachfront building.
McInerney asked, “When you heard cable snap did it ever cross your mind, ‘I may not make it?’”
Sidney said, “I just figured we'd float along, God knows what would happen. I turned around saw the building I reached my arms out for the people on the balcony.”
The girls slammed into the 13th floor. They bounced off and landed on parked cars.
Alexis said, “I remember going numb. A numb feeling. I remember waking up on the ground.”
The teens awoke in the hospital in critical condition. They had both suffered broken backs and brain injuries.
“I have double vision. No peripheral vision. I can't drive nor will I ever be able to drive again,” said Sidney.
Perhaps you think that the tragedy would have brought Sidney and Alexis closer together, as they struggled to recover. That didn't happen.
Sidney said, “I saw Alexis. She was walking, I was in a wheelchair. I was like, ‘We were in this together. I didn’t understand why I was so far behind.' I was jealous for the longest time because I didn’t understand anything.”
McInerney asked, “Were you angry with each other blame each other? Did you blame each other?”
Alexis said, "There was no blame. It is not like we're mad at each other. We were still trying to figure it out. Everyone wanted answers and we didn't have them."
It's said that time heals all wounds. And perhaps that's the case here. When INSIDE EDITION brought Sidney and Alexis together, the tension seen in those first few minutes gradually started to fade.
They even began comparing scars.
These two one-time best friends, torn apart by a freak mishap, say they want to move forward together.
Alexis said, “Life’s a blessing. Some people got it taken away from them. I got a second chance. How can you not be happy about that?”