MARATHON, Fla. – A boat captain has been arrested, several months after a woman was killed and her son and nephew were injured in a parasailing accident in the Florida Keys, News 6 partner WPLG learned on Thursday.
Local 10 News obtained the arrest warrant for Daniel Gavin Couch, 49, which shows he is charged with one count of manslaughter and five counts of violating commercial parasailing statutes.
According to a report by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, “The captain cut the line tethered to the three victims” on May 30 off the coast of Marathon because the parasail was “pegging.”
That is a phrase used to describe when a parasail turns into a sail in high winds and could potentially drag the boat.
The woman and two children were dropped and “dragged through the water by the inflated parasail...through and across the surface of the water” before colliding with the Old Seven Mile Bridge, the report states.
According to the report, onboard the 31-foot boat were nine people from Schaumburg, Illinois.
Authorities identified the woman who died as Supraja Alaparthi, 33. Her 10-year-old son, Sriakshith Alaparthi, was also parasailing with her. The 7-year-old boy who was airlifted to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital is Alaparthi’s nephew, identified as Vishant Sadat.
FWC officers said Supraja Alaparthi was declared dead by the time a Good Samaritan boat captain arrived to help.
Couch worked for Lighthouse Parasail Inc., which is based in Marathon and had departed from Captain Pip’s Marina & Hideaway that day.
According to the warrant, Couch violated several commercial parasailing statutes.
The weather, specifically the wind speed, was a “key contributing factor” in the accident, the warrant stated.
The victim’s family has filed a lawsuit against the parasail operator.