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 Post subject: Lofting Accident – Mullaloo Beach, Perth
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 11:14 am 
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This is a copy of a post from the seacreeze.com.au forum..... sound like a nasty accident.


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Lofting Accident – Mullaloo Beach, Perth

I’m writing this from my hospital bed, lucky to be alive and ashamed to be telling the tail. I hope others may learn from my error of judgment and perhaps question in future whether enthusiasm is ever clouding their judgment about conditions.

Saturday 5 June 2004, was stormy conditions in Perth, but about 3:30pm at Mullalloo beach the wind dropped right off to about 10-15 knots. There were two other guys visiting from Brisbane (in hindsight with no local knowledge) putting up their kite so I decided that was enough numbers and went to get mine. I’d just bought a new wet suit that morning and was keen to try it out. I figured 15 knots, even though it was directly onshore, was manageable. I have a Flysurfer 9.3m Warrior. Apart from the on-shore aspect, it should have been fine. I’ve not had much success in surf and reasoned that this was a great chance to get my skills up. I’ve about 7 month’s solid experience.

It was light conditions, and I was struggling to get going and get past the broken surf. I skated back and forth parallel to the beach trying to get an edge and get past the waves. I finally got the puff I needed, heading to the left and got through the first wave, then the second but the third swamped me. While I was under water I turned my kite around to head back to the right. I was a bit worried the wave had carried me back to shore but there was no problem, as I quite enjoy skimming along close to the shoreline and I could edge again to get another run out. If I ran out of water I could just bail and land on the beach, which I’ve done a many times without incident.

To my surprise, instead of pulling me up as normal, the kite must have caught a gust and lifted me straight up. I’ve never been so high. I can’t really judge height but to me it seemed like I was about 20 feet above the beach, the water had gone and I was looking down at wet compacted beach sand. I have had a couple of hard landings before and knew this was going to seriously injure me. If I was more experienced I may have had more control of my decent. I didn’t, and instead of landing on my feet my kite looped and dived head first onto the beach. I followed the kite, and to my horror went from vertical to horizontal to inverted, hitting the wet beach head first. I felt my head hit, then my neck crushed as my body pushed in, then my body hit the beach. The Gath helmet was a godsend and cushioned the impact on my head so I wasn’t knocked out. My body felt like it had been hit by a truck. I could barely breath or move but had the sense to reached for the quick release and pulled it. Thankfully the kite was already nose down on the beach and not flying.

The guy’s I had launched with 30 minutes earlier were over 500m away and hadn’t seen me. There was nobody else in sight. I lay there for 10 minutes in agony and finally saw a single figure walking towards me. At last I knew help was at hand. I was lying like a rag doll with the waves washing around me. Then when he reached me he just kept walking straight past. I groaned as loudly as I could. He said later that he had just thought I was having a rest. <Bizarre. Thanks Ashley>.

With help and time I managed to stand and we packed away the kite and he got me back to my car left. I was hurting bad but assumed I would be alright. I drove off and on the way home reluctantly decided to divert to Royal Perth Hospital Emergency and find a doctor for a bit of quick advice. I didn’t think there was anything seriously wrong with me, but they kept sending me for more X-Ray’s, CT scan, and then an MRI scan. At midnight the Orthopedic surgeon came in and told me in no uncertain terms that I had broken my neck and how lucky I was to even be alive, let alone not paralyzed. I couldn’t believe it. They cut my cloths off me, put my head in sand bags, and it’s been a shocking last 4 days unable to move and looking at the ceiling. But as an update, today I got my prognosis. I’ve got extensive soft tissue damage between my vertebrae from C3,C4, C5, C6 and have fractured T1 and T2. But I’ve got no nerve damage and within 12 months, I’ll have made a 100% recovery. How lucky can one be?

So until then my new interest will be photographing kitesurfing and being an advocate for safe kiting. Nothing qualifies one for that more than experience and I think I’ve earned the right to speak on that point now. I’m very much an advocate for the sport of kitesurfing, and can’t wait to get out there again, but it won’t be anywhere with an onshore breeze, or on a secluded beach, or where there the conditions are in any way questionable. I think on Saturday I was so lucky.

If anyone has any questions I’d be happy to answer them. I just hope that everyone can read this and may learn something they can apply to make kiting safer.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 11:47 am 
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thx for posting it, once again we should learn our lessons from it.

Good to hear he will recover fully. But he was lucky like hell!
Others won't be.

Greets
Toby


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 1:49 pm 
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Location: Perth, Western Australia
I have kited this place a few times, never enjoyed it, too gusty every time i've been there, think is has to do with the sand dunes and rapid rise of the land into housing about 100m from the water edge. A friend of mine who has grown up across the road from this place told me that it has got worse as the house number's have increased over the year's.

"terrain affect" gota watch that every time. These guy's that go out in crazy dangerous conditions, it's iresponsible for the individual and other that have to save them. I went out the same day this guy did, only in the morning before the front hit.....

hope he's doing ok, dont wish that shit on anyone.....


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 1:56 pm 
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maybe a good idea to load his beach up on http://www.kitebeaches.com and point ouit the hazards?

Sounds good to me, this way others can be warned!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 2:16 pm 
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Onshore again.
Surely it's just coincidence.

I wonder if he drove to hospital still wearing his new wetsuit and then had it cut off him or whether he took it off himself WITH A BROKEN NECK!

Lucky, lucky dude.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 2:42 pm 
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Location: Perth, Western Australia
Anomynous wrote:
Onshore again.
Surely it's just coincidence.


where's the education, why do kiter's risk there lives time after time in onshore hazardous conditions, like I said earlyer I dont wish this on my worst enemy. If you think you're good enough to ride in those conditions then you should be able to find someplace where it's off shore and stay up wind very easy. I've been riding 4 years and I still get nervous on days like this, but I do my BEST to checkout the area's downwind.....


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 5:32 pm 
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Yes this guy is very very lucky and i hope he will recover for 100%.

Had 4 weeks ago also a serious accident with onshore wind at the Lake of Annecy in France. Very strong wind, but thought I could manage to kite upwind in these conditions and after 100 m from starting place the coast bends 90 degrees so there wouldn't be onshore conditions. A guy helped me out into the water, because with that strong wind it wasn't easy to get out into the water alone. After I took of I felt the wind was also very strong for the small kite I used and it was difficult to get upwind, also because of breaking waves. I saw downwind a landing stage I hadn't seen before, lost my board and bodydragged over the water in direction of the landing stage. Only thinking of how I could surfive this. Just hold the bar so I could prevent hitting the pier head first. This took place in a few seconds. I hitt the pier with high speed but lucky as I was, first with my feet and later arms and body, which was protected with a impactvest.
After the kite took air again, after a while I managed to release the kite. Some kind people helped me out of the water where I saw blood coming out of my left shoe. Thought of broken bones which torn my skin, so I took out my shoe (with muddy water). Big cut under my foot, but the shoe still ok. Went to the hospital where they took some x-rays. Nothing broken so the gave me 10 stitches and send me back to the campingplace where I stayed, hoping I could drive back after 1 or two weeks. Not possible, so somebody else drove me home. Back home I went again to a hospital for X -rays. 3 Footbones seriously broken. Wasn't possible to adjust them nice again. Operation wasn't possible because of the wound. So hope to recover although I won't have straight footbones anymore.

So why did I kite with onshore conditions?
I thought I could manage the windconditions and I wanted to kitesurf there, because there aren't many days with good winds overthere.
But because I wanted to kite, I underestimated the wind and hadn't seen this dangerous pier (threes, cars, etc.). Used a bigger board as usual, was totaly fucked up because I had been driving around 1,5 hour to find the right place.
Why didn't I use my safety?
I have been thinking if there was time enough to use it. I think I could have managed, but also held my bar to prevent hitting with my head first. If I had tried to release and wouldn't succeed doing this, it could have been worse. I'll never know. But after I hitt the pier, I wasn't able to release as a reflex, I had to look at the release and thinking wat to do. It took some time!!!

After recovering I'll be trying to release when dragged through the water, just for practising.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 5:46 pm 
All you have to do is read these posts to get a feel for OUR problem,

Sheez-us fucking Christ, first off this idea of being able to control where your kite is going to take you, or that you can manage your flight path (FUCKING THANKS CABARETE BETTY) is just horse shit and wishful thinking.

The other part is just pure shit for brains (hey I got it too)

We are without a doubt just fucking stupid by nature I guess?

Hey hold me down so I can go kite, :D it's all good 8) just hold me till I get to the soup, right :D

Pile-em up over there with the rest of them, don't call the medics yet we got three more comming don't want to waste thier trip... :o :D 8)
fokiten


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 Post subject: Thanks for the warning...
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 8:43 pm 
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I have taken 3 kiteboarding lessons so far...and can say that while my instructor went over safety issues, one thing he did not go over was not kiteboarding in directly onshore winds. I know enogh not to go out in storms or squalls, but I figured that any other onshore wind would do! Thanks for posting your story. It can stand for a good warning to new kiters. Wishing Mr. Perth a speedy recovery.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 9:32 pm 
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Location: Perth, Western Australia
hey volcomactiongirl good to see your face on here...........hows things havent spoken for awhiles, hows the jellybeans & coffee going. :lol:

regards


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