Florida Boat Captain Charged In Fatal Memorial Day Parasailing Accident
By Bill Galluccio
September 23, 2022
The captain of a boat has been charged in connection with the death of a 33-year-old woman who was killed in a parasailing accident on Memorial Day. The woman's son and nephew were injured.
Daniel Gavin Couch, 49, was charged with manslaughter and five counts of violating commercial parasailing statutes. He is being held at the Monroe County Jail on a $100,000 bond.
Investigators said the Couch cut the tether that was connecting Supraja Alaparthi, her son, and her nephew to the boat because the parasail was "dragging" in high winds after a summer storm popped up.
They were still strapped to the parasail and were dragged across the water for roughly two miles before they crashed into the Seven Mile Bridge.
Officials said that Couch did nothing to help them after they slammed into the bridge. The captain of another boat rushed over to help, but Alaparthi was deceased by the time he arrived. That captain pulled them from the water, and the two children were rushed to the hospital.
"There is no excuse for the negligence and disregard for public safety that was shown in this case," Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Regional Commander Major Alberto Maza said in a statement. "My prayers go out to the families of those involved in this terrible accident. Our investigators conducted a thorough investigation, and the charges today hold those responsible for this tragedy accountable."