Captain charged in Florida paragliding crash that killed Elk Grove woman

CHICAGO (CBS) – A captain is now charged in connection with the death earlier this year of an Elk Grove woman who died in a parachute accident in South Florida.

Daniel Gavin Couch, 49, was booked into the Monroe County, Florida Jail for one count of manslaughter and is being held on Thursday for $100,000, the sheriff’s office confirmed. CBS Miami News.

Daniel Couch
Daniel Couch has been charged in the death of an Illinois woman who died on May 30, 2022 in a fatal paragliding crash in the Florida Keys.

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office

As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported on Thursday night, Supraja Alaparthi’s story and death left many shaking their heads in disbelief. Many people question why the operator of the parachute boat cut the rope.

Picture below of Alaparthi; her son, Sriakshith Alaparthi, 10 years old; and her grandson, 9-year-old Vishant Sadda, were arrested just before they went skydiving out of Marathon, Florida.

Supraja Alaparthi, 33, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Haggard Law Firm, Courtesy

The Elk Grove Village family’s Memorial Day outing tragically ended when a strong gust of wind “trapped” their parachute – meaning the wind took control of the parachute from the boat below.

A later report said this made a very dangerous situation that the captain decided to cut the ropes of the victims. They fell from an unknown height and were dragged over the water by the parachute until it crashed into the Old Seven Mile Bridge, the report said.

Alaparthi died instantly. Her son and grandson were both injured.

Now, Couch is charged with manslaughter for taking his family out on a windy day and cutting the cable connecting his parachute to his boat.

Fisherman John Caillon was on the water the same day when wind speeds hit 30 mph. They watched the parachute fly out of control.

Caillon ran to the bridge to help the three as they were dangling. But Alaparthi didn’t make it.

“I like to believe that, you know, he has a lot of pride that he’s carrying – knowing that in the end, I think he’s saved one, if not two, young children’s lives – because so I think that transcends sadness and sadness,” said Caillon’s wife, Kasey Platt.

The family’s attorney said 11 family members – including Alaparthi’s 6-year-old daughter, were on the boat that afternoon and witnessed Couch cut the ropes.

Prosecutors said the move was reckless, and not only violated commercial umbrella principles but was also criminal.

Lawyers employed by the victim’s family have also applied a lawsuit after the accident.

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