(NEW YORK) — It’s been a year since one family’s dream trip quickly turned into a nightmare, when a woman was killed and two children were injured while parasailing on vacation. Now, the woman’s husband is speaking out for the first time with the hope of warning other families to stay safe ahead of summer vacation.
“She kept everything together and she’s always having a smile on her face,” Srinivasrao Alaparthi told Good Morning America of his late wife in an exclusive interview.
On May 30, 2022, Alaparthi’s wife, Supraja Alaparthi, 33, was killed and their young son and nephew were severely injured after the three went parasailing while vacationing in the Florida Keys. During the ride, the weather quickly deteriorated, “pegging” the parasail in a strong wind where it is controlled by the wind and not the speed of the boat, according to a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office incident report that was previously reported by ABC News.
Alaparthi claimed that the boat’s crew could not reel in the parasail because of the weather and alleged that the captain decided to cut the towline with the three passengers still on the parasail. The passengers then dropped to the water and were dragged by the inflated parasail across the water until they collided into a bridge.
“Whatever he was doing, it was concerning for all of us. I didn’t exactly see when he cut the rope,” said Alaparthi. “[It was a] terrifying and horrible moment.”
“Sri is holding the captain’s leg, begging him to please go out there and save them. And he goes ahead and tells ’em, ‘Don’t worry, the bridge will help,” Ricky Patel, an attorney for Alaparthi and his family, told GMA.
The boat’s captain, Daniel Couch, was charged with manslaughter and multiple boating violations last September. He has pleaded not guilty.
Alaparthi’s family has since filed a lawsuit against Couch, Couch’s colleague, the boat company and the marina. The suit alleges the company and marina did not check weather reports, which should have prevented them from sailing. It also claims they failed to provide enough safety equipment, including life jackets on board, and didn’t properly bring the parasail down after losing control.
“There were so many opportunities for them to stop this from happening but yet, there’s failure, after failure, after failure,” said Pedro Echarte, another attorney for Alaparthi and his family.
Echarte said it’s important to not rely on websites alone to book vacation activities and to be sure to know their policies, procedures, and safety equipment.
“Don’t rely upon the signage. Don’t rely upon the websites. Ask questions. ‘What are your policies? What are your procedures? What type of safety equipment you have?’ If it doesn’t smell right, if it doesn’t seem right, don’t go,” said Echarte.
ABC News reached out to the boat company, the marina, and Couch, but has not received comment at this time.
A year later, Alaparthi said that his only wish is that an incident like this never happens to another family and that the lawsuit can help bring about change within the parasailing industry as a whole.
“Having fun is not worth the cost of life. There should be enough safety measures,” he said. “Otherwise, they will end up in a miserable situation.”
ABC News’ Meredith Deliso and Will Gretsky contributed to this story.
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