'We sprung into action': Good Samaritan pulled 3 from water after Florida parasailing accident

Elk Grove Village woman, Supraja Alaparthi, killed in incident; nephew, 7, taken to Miami for treatment

Diane Pathieu Image
Wednesday, June 1, 2022
'We sprung into action': Good Samaritan pulled 3 from water in FL
An Elk Grove Village woman was killed in a Florida parasailing accident over Memorial Day weekend. Two local children were also injured.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The fishing boat captain who pulled an Elk Grove Village mother and two children from the water after a deadly Florida parasailing incident is speaking out about the experience.

Supraja Alaparthi was killed, and two children were injured in the Florida Keys on Memorial Day.

The incident happened near Pigeon Key. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said while the woman and two children were parasailing, winds picked up, causing the parasail to crash into the Old Seven Mile Bridge.

Investigators said just after the mother and two young boys launched, the wind "pegged" the parachute, meaning the captains could no longer control it.

In their report, investigators said, "with the parasail peg the captain cut the line tethered to the three victims the three victims dropped from an unknown height and drag through the water by the inflated parasail."

Both children were injured. A 7-year-old boy was taken in critical condition to Miami for hospital treatment. A 10-year-old boy suffered minor injuries, officials said.

The 10-year-old boy was identified by officials as Alaparthi's son. Officials said the 7-year-old is her nephew.

John Callion was on a charter fishing boat nearby when the parasail lost control and raced toward the bridge.

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"I thought they had it under control first. But, for a minute, my customer's like, 'what's going on? What are they doing?' I'm like, 'it looks like they're trying to figure out a plan to rescue these people,'" Callion said. "And then, you know, 30 seconds goes by, which seemed much longer, and nothing was changing. So then that's when we sprung into action."

Alaparthi was still attached to the children in a harness when she died.

"The kid, he was letting me know, 'help me, help me,'" Callion said. "And we got him in the boat immediately. And then we got the other kid that was unconscious. And then we got his mom in the boat."

The Alaparthis had just moved from Schaumburg, where their nephew still lives, to Elk Grove Village. Back home, their family friends are gutted and confused.

"I'm a little broken. I feel it," said Naveen Reedy, the family's former landlord.

"They left school one day early to go to Florida and I haven't heard about them since," said Anvit Tiwari, a friend of the injured child.

An investigation by the FWC and the United States Coast Guard is ongoing. An official report on the incident does state the severe weather was a factor.

ABC7 has reached out to the parasailing company, but has not heard back.