Listen: 911 callers report seeing ‘rope snap’ in fatal parasailing accident

Report states boat captain cut line connecting parasail to boat when winds picked up

911 calls are released in the Florida Keys fatal parasailing accident

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – John Callion works as a fishing guide and was out on his boat when he witnessed a parasail with three people attached blowing into the Old Seven Mile Bridge in Marathon.

“‘I just watched a parasail rope snap and I’m on my way to go try to save the people,’” he told Kasey Platt as he called her from the water and told her to call 911 and report it.

(Listen to the calls below.)

She tells dispatch: “A parasailer’s line just broke free and they are in the water . . . I’m not physically there. My husband just called and he said to report it.”

Another caller says: “The rope broke . . . and he’s been drugged across the water by the sail.”

A boat captain who rushed in to help after three people were involved in a parasailing crash in the Florida Keys is speaking out about the incident.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission released a report on the tragic accident Tuesday night.

According to the report, “The captain cut the line tethered to the three victims” because the parasail was “pegging.”

That is a phrase used to describe when a parasail turns into a sail in high winds and could potentially drag the boat.

The woman and two children were dropped and “dragged through the water by the inflated parasail . . . through and across the surface of the water” before colliding with the bridge, the report states.

According to the report, onboard the 31-foot boat were nine people from Schaumburg, Illinois.

The report identified the captain of the parasailing boat as Daniel Couch, 49, who works for Lighthouse Parasail Inc., which is based in Marathon.

After Callion arrived on his boat to help, passengers performed CPR on the victims as he raced everyone to the docks at the nearby Sunset Grille restaurant.


About the Author:

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.