A man whose wife died while parasailing in the Florida Keys last year has spoken out for the first time since the tragic accident.
Thirty-three-year-old Supraja Alaparthi was killed after her body was dragged across the water and slammed into a bridge while strapped into a parasail.
Alparthi and her family were visiting the Keys from their home in a suburb outside Chicago. Her young son and nephew were also injured during the June 2022 incident, as her husband Srinivasrao Alaparthi and other family members watched from a boat.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigated the crash last year, according to The Associated Press, and found that the boat captain, Daniel Gavin Couch, cut the line holding Alaparthi and the two boys because the parasail was “dragging” in high winds from a sudden summer storm.
“Whatever he was doing, it was concerning for all of us. I didn’t exactly see when he cut the rope,” Mr Alaparthi’ told ABC’s Good Morning America in an exclusive interview aired on Wednesday. “[It was a] terrifying and horrible moment.”
Mr Couch was charged by Florida authorities in September with manslaughter in the crash. He has pleaded not guilty.
According to Pedro Echarte, an attorney representing Mr Alaparthi, family members told employees they would come back the next day if the weather prevented parasailing but were reassured it would be okay to go on with the activities.
“There were so many opportunities for them to stop this from happening but yet, there’s failure, after failure, after failure,” Mr Echarte told GMA.
“Don’t rely upon the signage. Don’t rely upon the websites,” Mr Echarte advised. “Ask questions. ‘What are your policies? What are your procedures? What type of safety equipment [do] you have?’ If it doesn’t smell right, if it doesn’t seem right, don’t go.”
The grieving family is now suing the captain, a crew member and a Florida resort company that owns the marina where the boat was based. Last June, the family filed a separate wrongful death and personal injury lawsuit against the boat company.
Mr Alparthi told reporters that his family continues to grapple with the loss of his wife “one day at a time.”
“Having fun is not worth the cost of life. There should be enough safety measures,” he told GMA. “Otherwise, they will end up in a miserable situation.”
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