Severe weather is being blamed for a parasailing accident that claimed the life of an Illinois woman and injured two children in the Florida Keys on Memorial Day, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
The incident occurred on Monday near Pigeon Key in Monroe County, Florida.
In an initial report, officials with FWC said after the boat arrived at the desired location, the captain and mate conducted a three-seater parasail flight which included the three victims.
The flight was initially conducted north of the Seven Mile Bridge. Shortly after putting the three individuals in flight, a strong gust of wind “pegged” the parasail, meaning weather was then controlling the sail and potentially impeding the safe operation of the boat, according to the report. With the parasail pegged, the captain cut the line tethered to the three individuals, the report stated.
The three dropped from an unknown height and were dragged through the water by the inflated parasail. Officials said the chute continued to drag the victims through and across the water’s surface until the parasail collided with the old 7-Mile Bridge, west of Pigeon Key.
The woman, who officials identified as Supraja Alaparthi, 33, was pronounced dead on the scene. Alaparthi’s 10-year-old son suffered minimal injuries, however, her nephew, 9, was rushed to a Miami hospital for additional treatment, the report stated.
The accident is currently under investigation by the FWC and the US Coast Guard.