CHICAGO (WBBM) – A parasailing boat operator was charged with the d*ath of a young mother after she severed her seat belt while towing her and two boys near the Florida Keys.
All three fell from an unknown height and were dragged through the water for two miles across the parasailing canopy until it crashed into the Old Seven Mile Bridge, according to an investigative report.
Supraja Alaparthi, 33, died at the scene. Her 10-year-old son and 9-year-old nephew were injured.
Daniel Gavin Couch, 49, was thrown in a prison in Monroe County, Florida on one mansl*ughter charge and was held on Thursday on $ 100,000 bail, the sheriff’s office said in an interview with CBS Miami News.
Couch, a boat captain named Airborne, was hired for this year’s Memorial Day parasailing by 12 family members on vacation from the Chicago area.
Alaparthi and the two boys were the second group to go up. As they were towed across the bay – with their family, including the woman’s 6-year-old daughter, watching from the boat below – the parasail was whipped in a strong wind. Couch was clearly concerned that the boat would be pulled by the parasail, endangering the passengers, and cut the line from the sail to the boat.
The fisherman who witnessed the incident chased a loose canopy and caught up with the victims hanging from the bridge. He cut them off the harness and took them ashore. The woman never regained consciousness.
Prosecutors said the cut of the rope was reckless and not only violated commercial parasailing guidelines, it was a criminal offense.
Attorneys employed by the victims’ families have also filed a lawsuit in relation to the crash.
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