Boat Captain Finally Arrested After Woman Killed In Parasailing Accident

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Boat captain arrested months after fatal parasailing accident in the Keys – WPLG Local 10

Daniel Gavin Couch, 49, was charged with manslaughter after cutting a cable tethered to a parasail rig.

The woman, 33, died after her parasail was dragged across the waves by the wind-blown parasail up to two miles, eventually slamming into the Old Seven Mile Bridge near Pigeon Key in the Middle Keys. Her son, Sriakshith, 10, was injured, but hanging upright.

Callion drove his boat to the Sunset Grille at the northern base of the Seven Mile Bridge in Marathon and rescued the victims. Supraja was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Monroe County State Attorney’s Office charged Couch with Alaparthi’s death Thursday following an investigation by the FWC. Couch took 12 members of the family out on a boat to play in the waters around the Seven Mile Bridge, but storm clouds were clearly on the horizon.

The weather was getting worse when Alaparthi and the boys were hoisted in the parasail, and the crew lost control of the parasail, which began to sway violently back and forth. The crew cut the line and blew an airhorn to signal the people to pull the chute wrangler.

Couch moved the boat near the parasail to try to rescue the people, but the wind blew the parasail over the boat and sent the three people rushing toward the bridge.

Couch is charged with manslaughter and several misdemeanors relating to laws required to be followed by commercial parasail operators. Video taken by the family indicates Couch knew the weather was too rough while Supraja and the boys were dangling in the air behind the boat.

Investigators say Couch had other options other than cutting the tow line, like turning the vessel 180 degrees or fast accelerating toward the parasail, but took the only measure that worked: cutting the tow line.

John Nightbridge is a veteran reporter, researcher, and economic policy major from UCLA. Passionate about world issues and potential ways to solve them is a significant focus of his work. Writing freelance and reading the news are John's passions at work. Outside of work, it's all about sky diving, surfing, and stock market modeling.