MIAMI - The family of a 33-year-old Illinois woman who was killed while parasailing in the Florida Keys last month has filed a wrongful death and personal injury lawsuit against the boat company, attorneys said.
Supraja Alaparthi was killed, her 9-year-old nephew was seriously injured and her 10-year-old son suffered minor injuries when the boat captain cut loose the parasail as a storm approached Marathon in the Florida Keys on May 30, attorney Michael Haggard said in a news conference Tuesday.
Eleven family members, including Alaparthi's 6-year-old daughter, were on the boat that afternoon. The family was visiting the Keys from Elk Grove Village, Illinois, and told the captain they could return the next day if the weather was too bad to go up in the parasail. But the captain said it would be OK, Haggard said.
Soon after the parasail was airborne, the captain began losing control of the boat because of "pegging" which causes the parasail to be filled with so much air that it drags the boat. Once the parasail line was cut, the mother and two children were dragged untethered across the water and crashed into a bridge.
A man on a nearby boat brought the trio to shore in Marathon. Alaparthi was dead at the scene, officials said. The 10-year-old boy was battered but awake, but the 9-year-old boy was unconscious and wrapped in the parasail’s lines. WSVN reported that the younger boy had to be resuscitated and taken to a nearby hospital. He was later airlifted to Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami.
While Alaparthi's son was not seriously injured, he remains in shock and will likely suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, Haggard said.
The younger boy spent a week at Nicklaus Children's Hospital being treated for injuries to his eyes, face and other parts of his body, Haggard said. He's now in Illinois where he will need additional surgeries.
The lawsuit claims the company failed to properly train the captain and first mate, did not equip the boat with proper safety and parasailing equipment and operated the boat in unsafe weather conditions.
The lawyer for the boat company did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.