Florida boat captain charged after Elk Grove Village woman killed in parasailing incident

Diane Pathieu Image
Friday, September 23, 2022
Florida captain charged 4 months after suburban woman killed in parasailing incident
Nearly four months after a suburban mother died in a parasailing incident in Florida, the captain of the boat is facing charges.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Nearly four months after an Elk Grove Village woman died and her son and nephew were injured in a parasailing incident in the Florida Keys, the captain has now been arrested and charged for her death.

Florida officials detailed a dangerous day on the water and a crash and death that could have been prevented.

"They saved up for this vacation. They made it to the keys. This was a dream vacation for them that turned into a nightmare," attorney Ricky Patel said.

It was supposed to be a long-awaited getaway for two northwest suburban families: a trip to the Florida Keys.

As they got on a boat operating in Marathon to begin a parasail trip, the weather began to turn. The families raised their concern to the captain, who told them not to worry.

"For the families to have got on this ship when the weather was bad was horrific," Patel said.

Supraja Alaparthi, 33, her 10-year-old son and 7-year-old nephew were in a harness, in the air when court documents say the parasail began "pegging," meaning the parasail turned into the high winds and dragging the boat.

That's when authorities said the captain, 49-year-old Daniel Gavin Couch, cut the line tethered to the three victims. Alaparthi and the two children were dropped and dragged through the water for two miles before colliding with the Old Seven Mile Bridge.

All the while, the family in the boat was watching and begging for help.

Alaparthi was killed and the two boys were injured.

Family of mother killed in Florida parasailing accident files lawsuit

The captain was charged with one count of manslaughter and five counts of violating commercial parasailing statutes.

"The level of failures across the board and the amount of opportunities they had to do the right thing and prevent this incredible tragedy it's heart-wrenching," Pedro Echarte said.

According to the charges, weather and wind speed are a "key contributing factor" in this incident.

The family filed a civil lawsuit against the parasailing company and operators.

Alaparthi leaves behind her husband and two children.

Her nephew who was with her, suffered serious injuries and was in the hospital for a week after the incident.

Authorities with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, say there was no excuse for the negligence and disregard for public safety shown in this case, And that Couch should have never taken the group out that day.

Couch is being held on one hundred thousand dollars bond. He will be back in court to make a plea next month.