Family of Elk Grove woman killed in Florida parasailing crash files wrongful-death suit

  • Elk Grove Village resident Supraja Alaparthi, center, prepares to go parasailing with her son Akshath Alaparthi, left, and nephew Vishant Sadda on Memorial Day, just before an accident that would claim her life and injure the two boys.

    Elk Grove Village resident Supraja Alaparthi, center, prepares to go parasailing with her son Akshath Alaparthi, left, and nephew Vishant Sadda on Memorial Day, just before an accident that would claim her life and injure the two boys. Courtesy of the Haggard Law Firm

  • Supraja Alaparthi, right, with her son, Akshath, and daughter, Adira.

    Supraja Alaparthi, right, with her son, Akshath, and daughter, Adira. Courtesy of the Haggard Law Firm

 
 
Updated 6/28/2022 7:20 PM

Attorneys for the family of an Elk Grove Village woman killed in a Memorial Day parasailing crash filed a wrongful-death and personal injury lawsuit Tuesday against a Florida Keys parasail operator.

Supraja Alaparthi was pronounced dead at the scene May 30 after the parasail she was riding struck the Old Seven Mile Bridge near Pigeon Key during a bout of bad weather and heavy winds. Also injured were her 10-year-old son, Shriakshith Alaparthi, and 9-year-old nephew, Vishant Sadda, the latter of whom spent a week in the hospital, family attorney Michael Haggard said Tuesday.

 

The lawsuit names Lighthouse Parasail Inc. as a defendant, though Haggard said he intends to soon add Captain Pip's Marina, which enabled the parasailing company to operate there.

Lighthouse Parasail could not be reached for comment Tuesday, and Captain Pip's Marina declined to comment.

Haggard and his co-counsel, Pedro Echarte, said during a news conference in Florida that the parasailing company took Alaparthi and the two boys out that day despite dangerous conditions.

"The weather was horrific," Haggard said. "It was absolute negligence and a violation of a statute in the state of Florida to put those three innocent souls multiple hundreds of feet in the air on this day."

They alleged the captain of the boat immediately lost control of the vessel and parasail when the three family members went up. The attorneys allege the captain then cut the parasail free in an effort to regain control of the boat -- something Echarte said should have been the last course of action -- and skipped over a number of options that could have and should have been employed first.

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Haggard said Captain Pip's Marina already has taken steps to distance itself from the tragedy.

"Since the day that this occurred, Pip's Marina has tried to erase parasailing from their resume," he said.

The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $30,000, but Haggard said he believes that a greater amount in punitive damages is likely when all the evidence is gathered. He added that he believes criminal charges will be warranted.

Haggard also represents Nekia Dodd, the mother of 14-year-old Tyre Sampson of Missouri, who was killed in March when he fell from an amusement park tower ride in Orlando.

He described both tragedies as symptoms of an insufficiently regulated tourist industry in Florida.

"We have a problem in Florida," Haggard said. "We have a problem with our biggest industry -- the tourist industry."

While Vishant Sadda is awaiting further treatment for his injuries, including plastic surgery, the immediate family of Supraja Alaparthi is grieving in her native India.

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