AP

Florida boat captain charged in fatal parasailing accident

Sep 23, 2022, 4:39 AM | Updated: 4:48 am

MARATHON, Fla. (AP) — A boat captain has been charged with manslaughter in a Memorial Day parasailing crash in the Florida Keys that killed a 33-year-old Illinois woman and injured her young son and nephew.

Daniel Gavin Couch, 49, was booked into the Monroe County Jail on Thursday and was being held on a $100,000 bond.

An investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission found Couch cut the line holding Supraja Alaparthi and the two boys because the parasail was “dragging” in high winds from a sudden summer storm.

They were still strapped into the parasail as they were dragged across the waves for nearly 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) before slamming into the old Seven Mile Bridge, the investigation found.

Family members, including Alaparthi’s 6-year-old daughter, were on the boat that afternoon. They were visiting the Keys from Elk Grove Village, Illinois, and told the captain they could return the next day if the weather was too bad to go up in the parasail. But the captain said it would be OK, the family’s attorney Michael Haggard said when he filed a wrongful death lawsuit in June.

After the parasail hit the bridge, Alparthi was underwater. Her 10-year-old son was hanging upright, and her 9-year-old nephew was bent backward with his head under water, the report said.

“The captain did not maneuver his vessel under the bridge to offer aide even though the family members on the parasail vessel later reported they were begging him to help,” the arrest warrant said.

The captain of a nearby boat took the victims to shore.

“Weather data, pictures, and videos gathered throughout the investigation show black, ominous looking clouds and areas of high winds in the vicinity of the incident,” the arrest warrant said.

Investigators also found Couch’s decision to cut the tow line was “gross and flagrant” and he should have taken into account other possible options to safely bring the passengers down.

A lawyer who could speak on Couch’s behalf was not listed in jail records.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Colorado River settlement center of new Navajo Nation push...

Associated Press

Tribes say their future is at stake as they push for Congress to consider Colorado River settlement

Navajo officials are celebrating the signing of legislation outlining a proposed Colorado River settlement that would ensure water rights.

3 days ago

Arizona doctors California abortions...

Associated Press

Arizona doctors can come to California to perform abortions under new law signed by Gov. Newsom

Arizona doctors can temporarily come to California to perform abortions for their patients under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

4 days ago

Father convicted of first-degree murder in northern Arizona...

Associated Press

Arizona man convicted of first-degree murder in starvation death of 6-year-old son

A northern Arizona father was convicted of first-degree murder Thursday in the 2020 starvation death of his 6-year-old son.

4 days ago

Former President Donald Trump sits in a courtroom next to his lawyer Todd Blanche before the start ...

Associated Press

Trump hush money trial enters new phase after defense rests without testimony from former president

Donald Trump's hush money trial is now closer to the moment when the jury will begin deciding the former president's fate.

6 days ago

UoA student convicted of first-degree murder after killing professor...

Associated Press

Former Arizona grad student convicted of first-degree murder in 2022 shooting of professor

A former University of Arizona grad student was convicted of first-degree murder after fatally shooting a professor on campus two years ago.

6 days ago

Rudy Giuliani bankruptcy filing defamation lawsuit...

Associated Press

Ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Arizona’s Kelli Ward plead not guilty in fake elector case

Giuliani appeared remotely for the arraignment that was held in a Phoenix courtroom. His trial will take place in October.

7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

Florida boat captain charged in fatal parasailing accident