In January this year, I had a similar incident to the tragic accident of Silke, but fortunately nobody got hurt.
Only 2 of us were sailing in strong winds in Cape Town, on our Wipi Airblasts 6.3s. I was jibing behind the guy going out and started going out again. Due to a misunderstanding, he reversed his kite after a crash,and it flew in between my lines. WOuld I have released, both kites would have pulled him (I only realized this later).
We were both riding with the old Wipika chickenloops, without releases and with the plastic tubing. Very unsafe. The other guy reacted perfectly and let go of the bar and used both hands to pull the chicken loop out of the harness. His kite went flying down the empty beach and he swam in, no harm.
For me, the lesson was that not only is the safety system important (I would not have been able to get out of my chickenloop there), but you also have to be trained and confident in the operation of the system. It is no use if you can't release the system VERY QUICKLY.