A Florida boat captain’s decision to cut a parasail tow line may have contributed to a horrific Memorial Day accident that claimed the life of a young Illinois mother, an expert told the Miami Herald.
Supraja Alaparthi, 33, was parasailing with her son and nephew in the Florida Keys on Monday when winds suddenly began to whip, according to police.
Boat captain Daniel Couch, 49, feared the hurtling parasail would start to drag his vessel and endanger both his crew and the parasailing family members, officials said.
Couch cut the cable that connected the harness to his boat, resulting in the parasail dragging Alaparthi and the kids along the water’s surface for more than a mile.
A source told the newspaper that Couch had hoped to bring the threesome aboard the boat after cutting the line and allowing them to descend.
Instead, Alaparthi and the children eventually smashed directly into Old Seven Mile Bridge, killing the mother and badly injuring her nephew.
Parasailing pioneer Mark McCulloch, 66, told the Herald that Couch violated a “golden rule” in severing the tow line.
“He should never have done that,” he said. “That’s the golden rule. Do not cut the line.”
McCulloch said other tactics should have been used, like steering the boat in a zigzag pattern to deflate the parasail.
A good Samaritan who witnessed the accident loaded the victims into his boat and transported them to a nearby restaurant while administering CPR with other crew members.
“It was pretty much the worst thing you could imagine,” he told the Herald. “It was real bad.”
Alaparthi was soon declared dead while her 9-year-old nephew, Vishant Sadda, suffered severe injuries and remains in critical condition.
Her son, 10-year-old Shriakshith Alaparthi, suffered minor injuries.
The victims were visiting Florida from Illinois.
The incident remains under investigation.