A Florida boat captain's decision to cut a parasail tow line may have contributed to a horrific Memorial Day accident that claimed the life of a young Illinois mother.
Supraja Alaparthi, 33, was parasailing with her son and nephew in the Florida Keys on Monday when winds suddenly began to pick up, according to police.
Boat Captain Cut the Cable in a Bid to Protect the Vessel from Being Dragged
As reported by the Miami Herald, boat captain Daniel Couch, 49, feared the hurtling parasail would start to drag his vessel and endanger both his crew as well as the parasailing family members, officials said.
Couch cut the cable that connected the harness to his boat, hoping to bring the threesome aboard the boat after cutting the line and allowing them to descend. However, the strong winds resulted in the parasail dragging Alaparthi and the kids along the water's surface for more than a mile.
The family eventually smashed directly into the Old Seven Mile Bridge, killing the mother and severely injuring her nephew. A good Samaritan who witnessed the accident loaded the victims into his boat and transported them to a nearby restaurant while administering CPR with other crew members.
Alaparthi was soon declared dead while her 9-year-old nephew, Vishant Sadda, suffered severe injuries and remains in critical condition. Her son, 10-year-old Shriakshith Alaparthi, suffered minor injuries. Video footage of the unfortunate incident was captured by an eyewitness and shared on social media.
Couch Violated a 'Golden Rule'
Parasailing expert and pioneer, Mark McCulloch, 66, told the Herald that Couch violated a "golden rule" in severing the tow line.
"He should never have done that," he said. "That's the golden rule. Do not cut the line." McCulloch said other tactics should have been used, like steering the boat in a zigzag pattern to deflate the parasail. "It was pretty much the worst thing you could imagine," he added. "It was real bad."