Tragedy struck Srinivasrao Alaparthi a year ago when his wife was killed in a Florida parasailing crash that also injured their young son and a nephew.
The boat captain, encountering strong winds, allegedly cut the tether, sending Alaparthi’s relatives floating in the air for two miles before they crashed into a bridge.
The 33-year-old mother, Supraja Alaparthi of Elk Grove Village, died at the scene. Their son, 10, and nephew, 9, were seriously hurt.
On Thursday, Alaparthi warned other parents vacationing this summer to beware of companies skirting safety rules — companies like the one he claims caused his wife’s death.
“We trusted these companies but they let us down in the worst possible way,” Alaparthi told reporters. “Our goal is to ensure that no other family goes through what we’re dealing with today.”
Lawyers representing the family filed a lawsuit this week in Monroe County, Florida, against the captain of the boat, its crew member and the resort, Captain Pip’s Holdings LLC. They filed a lawsuit last year against the parasailing company, Lighthouse Parasailing.
The tragedy unfolded May 30, 2022, when Alaparthi and 11 other family members boarded a parasailing boat in the Florida Keys, the lawsuit states. Despite bad weather, the captain allegedly brought the family out to sea and successfully had three of them parasail.
The weather worsened as Alaparthi’s wife, their son and nephew began parasailing, according to the suit. The wind allegedly blew the parasail violently, dragging the boat so it could not maneuver.
The captain of the boat then cut the tow line connected to the parasail, sending the wife and kids floating for about 10 minutes until they crashed into the Old Seven Mile Bridge, the lawsuit states.
The captain reportedly believed that cutting the line would allow them to drift into the water, where he could save them.
A lawyer representing the family, Pedro Echarte, said the captain broke many safety rules. The captain allegedly ignored a forecast of bad weather, did not bring life jackets and cut the tether instead of zigzagging the boat to deflate the parasail.
Even after their family members crashed into the bridge, the captain allegedly declined to enter the water because there were no life vests, Echarte said.
The captain of the boat is criminally charged with manslaughter in Florida. That case is pending.
Captain Pip’s, the resort that housed the parasailing company, did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
The family’s lawyers called for stricter regulations for parasailing companies, such as requiring mandatory training and written procedures.
Ricky Patel, another lawyer representing the family, said this case was an “anomaly” because the captain broke every possible rule.
“There’s usually one or two things wrong. … In this case, everything went bad,” he said.
He hopes this case sends a message to companies catering to tourists.
“Do what its right. Don’t cut corners,” Patel said.