- Supraja Alaparthi, 33, died on the spot, while the kids who suffered injuries were taken to a hospital.
An Indian American woman from Schaumburg, Illinois was killed last week in a parasailing accident in the Florida Keys on Memorial Day. Supraja Alaparthi, 33, was with her 10-year-old son, Sriakshith Alaparthi, and her nephew, Vishant Sadda, 9, when their line became detached due to a sudden storm. A video released by WPLG Local 10 news shows the three being dragged along the water before they were slammed into the Seven Mile Bridge.
The decision to cut the tow line was made by Captain Daniel Couch, the New York Post reported, adding that the 49-year-old “hoped that he would be able to rescue the visitors from Illinois once the parasail descended.” But that wasn’t the case.
Alaparthi, originally from Andhra Pradesh, died from the impact while Sadda suffered serious injuries and Shriakshith Alaparthi sustained minor wounds. According to an update from WPLG-TV on June 1 afternoon, Sada was still at the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, while Shriakshith Alaparthi, who “suffered cuts and bruises,” was released.
The three were rescued by a nearby boater who saw them hit the water and rushed to rescue them, pulling the victims into his boat and taking them to wait for paramedics. John Callion, a fishing guide, told the Miami Herald that the Memorial Day storm developed suddenly. He raced around Pigeon Key to reach them, he told the paper. He told WPLG-TV that although “it was pretty much flat calm, you could see the storm coming. All of the sudden, the temperature dropped by 10 degrees and the wind started blowing like crazy.
An official with the parasail company, Lighthouse Parasail Inc., of Marathon, told NBC 6 that they were devastated by the accident and cooperating with authorities, but said they did everything by the book.
Meanwhile, parasailing expert Mark McCulloh told Fox 35 that the tragedy was “absolutely” preventable. “I’ve actually experimented cutting the line in high winds throughout my lifetime in this industry and I found out that that wasn’t a good idea,” he said. “Once you’ve cut the line, you’ve lost control of the situation.”
Florida officials are continuing to probe the incident.