PIGEON KEY, FL — A boat captain is charged with homicide in connection with the death of a mother of two, after he cut her parasail line amid high wind, sending her flying into a bridge in the Florida Keys, according to authorities.
Daniel Gavin Couch, 49, faces one count of felony homicide in the form of negligent manslaughter and five misdemeanor counts of violating health and safety, police said.
Couch was the captain of a commercial motorboat that took 33-year-old Supraja Alaparthi parasailing May 30 while she was on a family trip to Florida, according to the state’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Alaparthi was a Chicago-area resident, as were her 10-year-old son and 9-year-old nephew, who were injured in the incident, the commission reported.
Alaparthi was strapped to the parasail with her son and nephew when a strong gust of wind led Couch to cut the line tethering them to the boat, causing the trio to be dragged across the water until they hit the Old Seven Mile Bridge near Pigeon Key, according to the commission.
Alaparthi’s family begged Couch to help, but he did not steer his vessel under the bridge to attempt to release the victims, according to the Miami Herald, which reported Alaparthi and the children were in the water roughly seven minutes before a good Samaritan boater came to their aid.
Radar and weather reports indicated a storm was coming before the excursion, according to a wrongful death lawsuit brought against Lighthouse Parasail Inc. about a month after the incident.
Couch was arrested Thursday and booked into the Monroe County jail, according to police. His arraignment is scheduled for Oct. 10.