New York: An Indian-American is suing a waterfront resort and a boat captain for alleged negligence that led to the death of his wife and left his son and nephew severely injured while parasailing last year in Florida.
Srinivasrao Alaparthi filed a 68-page lawsuit in Monroe County circuit court this week against the boat captain, his first mate and the resort, Captain Pip’s Marina & Hideaway, alleging negligence and wrongful death, The Washington Post reported.
He had filed a lawsuit last year against the parasailing company, Lighthouse Parasailing, which operated out of Captain Pip’s Marina.
On May 30, 2022, Alaparthi, his wife Supraja, 33, their son, 10, and nephew, 9, went parasailing while vacationing in the Florida Keys when the weather turned bad.
Minutes later, boat’s captain Daniel Couch cut the towline connecting the parasail to the boat, sending Supraja and children floating in the air for two miles before they crashed into a concrete bridge.
Alaparthi, who hails from Andhra Pradesh, told reporters on Thursday that it was a “terrifying experience”, The Post reported.
He alleges in his lawsuit that the boat’s crew failed to check the weather forecast, which would have shown an incoming storm and did not radio the US Coast Guard for help as the independent chute dragged Supraja to her death.
In addition, the crew did not provide enough safety equipment, including life jackets on board, and did not properly bring the parasail down after losing control.
“I can’t help but think that if the people we trusted from the parasailing company and Captain Pip’s Marina had done their jobs, my wife would still be with us today,” The Post quoted Alaparthi as saying.
“We trusted these companies, but they let us down in the worst possible way.”
In September last year, Couch was charged with manslaughter and multiple boating violations. He has pleaded not guilty.
According to media reports, he believed that cutting the towline would allow them to drift into the water, where he could save them.
A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigation said Couch lost control of the parasail with some 150 feet of line still extended and “immediately” cut the tow line with a pocket knife.
Due to this, the three passengers plunged from “an unknown height”, according to the affidavit.
Untethered from the boat and propelled by the wind, the parasail itself stayed aloft and soared south, dragging its three occupants in and out of the water for two miles, The Post said, quoting the affidavit.
Alaparthi told reporters that the children are still healing physically while “working through the emotional trauma”.