• Sunday, December 03, 2023


Boat captain charged with manslaughter after Florida Keys parasailing incident

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

A Florida Keys boat captain has been arrested and charged with manslaughter after his “negligence” led to the death of a parasailing woman earlier this year.

Daniel Gavin Couch was booked into the Monroe County Jail and was being held on a $100,000 bond, CBS Miami News reported as details of the fatal accident emerged.

Supraja Alaparthi from Illinois, her 10-year-old son Sriakshith and her nephew Vishant Sadda aged nine were parasailing, anchored by Couch’s boat when the incident took place on May 30 this year.

As the parasail went out of control amid strong winds when they were aloft, the boat operator cut the towline to the chute which then plunged and dragged the vacationing trio. They eventually crashed into the Old Seven Mile Bridge. Alaparthi died instantly while the two children suffered injuries.

An attorney, hired by Alaparthi’s family, gave an account of how the horrified members of the family desperately screamed for help during the crash.

The lawyer said 11 family members who were on the boat at the time of the tragedy saw Couch cut the cord, NBC News reported.

“All the family members were yelling to the captain to hook them, use a rescue device to jump in the water,” the lawyer who filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Alaparthis, said.

“Do something to save our family,” the attorney quoted them as saying.

“They saw them screaming, saw them yelling for help as the wind gusted in and took them away from the boat.”

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission arrested Couch over the woman’s death and for allegedly violating commercial parasailing statutes.

“There is no excuse for the negligence and disregard for public safety that was shown in this case,” Alberto Maza of the agency’s law enforcement division said.

According to the Commission, Couch hadn’t recently checked weather conditions before he took the passengers on the parasailing trip.


Related Stories