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 Post subject: El Gouna Fatality
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 2:53 pm 
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Some information has come in about this tragic accident however insufficient to provide a complete understanding of what happened. What has been collected follows. If anyone can offer further information regarding this sad accident please PM ricki. Sincere condolences and regrets go out to this lost kiteboarders family and friends.

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El Gouna is in the Northern Red Sea, on the east coast of Egypt

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The riding area borders developed desert about an hour north of Hurghada

1. A Swiss male kiter of 4 to 5 years experience had been kiteboarding in El Gouna for about a week. He was estimated to be 1.8 m (5'11") in height and weighed about 80 to 90 kg. (175 to 200 lbs.). He was wearing a full wetsuit and no impact vest.

2. On January 3, 2008, he was kiteboarding alone among a group of about 20 other kiters in the lagoon on his own 2008, 10 m fifth line Rebel "C" kite.

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A livecam photo of the area at 1145 that morning.

3. Winds were reported to have been about 15 to 18 kts. out of the NW or side offshore at 2 pm. The water was fairly calm in what were described as ideal conditions.

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Wind records for the area

4. At around 2 pm, a female kiter noted the rider being pulled by a looping kite through the water without a board and yelled at him to open his Quick Release or QR. The rider was reported to have waved at her. No observations of what may have initiated the kite looping have been reported.

5. A kiteboarding instructor about 50 m away attempted to catch the rider by moving through waist deep water as fast as he could but was unsuccessful given the speed at which the kiter was being dragged. He also yelled at the rider to activate his QR. The kiter was seen to appear to become unconscious after being dragged about 100 to 150 m with his head passing beneath the water's surface at times.

6. Two kite beachboys onshore noticed the looping kite and called both safety boats offshore to provide assistance by walkie talkies. One boat ran just behind the kiter and observed that he was unresponsive, perhaps unconscious. The other boat ran forward and tried to grab the kite. The kite was looping about three times in the air then striking the water and relaunching again, repeated over and over. This made securing the kite very hard to do. Eventually the lines were grabbed and cut. The kiteboarder was dragged approximately 300 to 500 m in the course of the accident for an estimated duration of 2 minutes. This would equate to a dragging speed of approximately 6 to 8 kts..

7. The kiter was recovered into the rescue boat and rushed to shore. The station director was waiting and performed CPR on the kiter. The kiteboarder did not revive.

8. The kiter was not seen to activate his Quick Release. It was later checked by staff and found to be functioning correctly.

FKA, Inc.

transcribed by:
Rick Iossi


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 Post subject: Re: El Gouna Fatality
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 2:56 pm 
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Many questions about the cause of this loss still exist. Still, some points for consideration follow:

1. Kiters should be prepared to Emergency Depower the kite they are using without hesitation at all times. Riders have been lost or severely injured by waiting too long in the past.

2. Understand how your Emergency Depower works and practice both physically and mentally using it on a regular basis. Considering "what if" a few times in a session and physically touching your Quick Release in a effort to improve reaction time.

3. Emergency Depowering with "C" kites usually means opening the Quick Release and dropping the bar to activate the kite leash. With Flat, SLE or BOW kites it usually means pushing the bar all the way out or dropping the bar IF recommended by the manufacturer. Do proper preflighting and Preventive Maintenance to improve the odds of proper function.

4. Be prepared to set the kite entirely free by opening the Chicken Loop Quick Release. By doing this you may be placing others downwind at risk. Work hard to avoid such extreme emergencies and pick your riding area carefully.

5. Kiters need to avoid line tangles at all costs. Tangles can impair or even defeat Emergency Depowering and even efforts to set the kite completely free. Tangles may arise from many causes with the most common being while the kite is on the water. It is also possible to be "showered" by falling line if the kite stalls overhead. Take pains to avoid these causes. Carrying hook knives may help with tangles and should be standard equipment for all kiteboarders.

6. Riding with people that are aware of you and keep an eye out is prudent for your welfare. Despite this precaution, accidents have occurred however others have been avoided or minimized.

7. Get into the habit of wearing reasonable safety gear whenever you kite including appropriate flotation or impact vest. You never know when it might make a critical difference although over time it is likely to make its value known, if you use it.


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 Post subject: Re: El Gouna Fatality
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 2:57 pm 
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The cause of death is as yet unknown. It may have been a heart attack, drowning, cervical fracture or other unknown cause. Kiters have been dragged further, perhaps at higher speed, surviving and yet many factors go into such things. It is possible that pre-existing medical considerations may have factored in this loss. Absent autopsy results we may never know.

The cause of the looping kite is also not known for certain. An instructor familiar with the kite in use felt that the looping was too "clean" to have been caused by a wingtip tangle and thought a tangle closer to the rider and control bar may have been responsible. Other cases of kites striking the water and coming up looping have been reported even with newer high depower "C" kites. Kiters should ASSUME that if their Flat kite or high depower "C" kite hits the water that it may come up looping and be prepared to deal with things accordingly as this sometimes will happen.

This was a well experienced kiter, riding in ideal conditions with a new, well sized kite. Yet, this tragedy still happened. It would be prudent for riders to reexamine their riding practices, safety procedures and gear and consider you don't have to drop yourself in severe squall gusts to have serious problems.

The apparent training and response of resort personnel in this accident are notable. From trained beach boys with radio communication with other staff, to multiple rescue boats offshore (not stored on the beach), to safety knives on the boats, to CPR trained personnel. It would be good for other wind destination resorts to consider implementing such measures for the safety and convenience of their guests.


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