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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2002 5:21 pm 
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I have reproduced the database below for easy access by participants in this forum. The database is periodically updated with new accounts and perspectives on old incidents. I thought for the convenience of the readers it might help to post it here at least once.

Toby, the file size of this is about 170 k. If this is too large please let me know and I won't upload content of this size in the future.

Rick Iossi

Kitesurfing Accident and Incident Database
The following knowledge database has been assembled to pass on important safety information and precautions learned from both observed and reported accidents and incidents. When feasible independent verification of the account has been attempted. Kitesurfing is a new sport with its share of growing pains and hard won knowledge. The Lessons Learned/Prevention section provided with each account present opinions regarding the possible cause(s) and potential means of avoiding similar accidents and incidents. Commentary included with each account provides opinions on trends in the sport, relation to similar incidents and other relevant information. As additional incident information may be provided and kitesurfing techniques and state of knowledge improve over time some of these accounts may be periodically updated with additional information and/or commentary. These accounts may be reproduced as long as appropriate citation is given.

Kitesurfers are encouraged to contribute to this knowledge database with actual confirmed, incident and accident information so that others may also learn from the experience. Accident/incident forms are included with this folder. These forms may be completed and emailed in to kitesrfer@aol.com possible inclusion in the database. If you have questions, additional information, alternate approaches to avoiding some these accidents or corrections, please email them to me privately.

We need to try to use the lessons of past incidents, they may be the ONLY WARNING that we receive. All kitesurfers are encouraged to periodically review this database.

Rick Iossi kitesrfer@aol.com


NEW!

Incident # 2 02 8

Date: Feb. 2002 Location: California

Title: That Board Is NOT A YO YO!

Posted by: Mel

Summary: An experienced rider had just launched either an AR5 9.5 or 13.5 m kite. He had attached his standard Dakine board leash just prior to launching as high gusty winds normal at this launch don’t permit one handed bar control readily. His kite was near neutral or the zenith when a gust hit. The gust may have been preceded by a lull that dropped his kite lower into the power window and at a high angle of attack. He was then violently lofted up high enough to where is board, hanging below him from the leash went OVER and CLEARED A WINDSURFER that was standing by his rig downwind. The kitesurfer landed on sand away from rocks and other bystanders and was able to get his kite under control with no one suffering any injuries.

Lessons learned/Prevention: To avoid having the same thing happen to us, we local riders had already learned to keep their kite low. We only needed to hear about the guy who was seriously injured lofting here (see Incident # 1 00 1), & experience our own 6 to 12 ft. loftings even in light winds (like after quitting due to lack of wind!) and didn't need a 25 ft. lofting to convince us.



Comments: So, another lofting incident goes into the accident database and another extremely lucky kitesurfer dodges a howitzer shell. Probability indicates that only so many riders will enjoy these benign outcomes. For many others the consequences will be grim at best. There are lots of lofting incidents in this database already, some with serious and even terminal injuries. If you put your kite up, sooner or later expect the kite to do what it does best, lift or LOFT you up with a sudden but inevitable gust. If you are near hard objects you will roll the dice on how intact and uninjured you come out of it. Kitesurfers really need to make how to avoid lofting COMMON KNOWLEDGE to needless repetitions of the often avoidable and very dangerous phenomena.

SO TO REDUCE THE CHANCE OF LOFTING immediately after launch, raise your kite only minimally above the horizon to a safe altitude to permit maneuvering. Do not bring it up to neutral or the zenith as if you are hit by a sudden gust YOU WILL GO FLYING INTO ?. If you need to reverse the placement of the kite, do it quickly but not so quickly as to build apparent wind speed. If you are using a center or chicken loop, sheet out as much as you can while maintaining stable flight before changing the Also, if you have a depowering strap, depower the kite as much as possible by sheeting out while still maintain stable flight for the available winds while near hard objects.



NEW!

Incident # 2 02 7

Date: Feb. 2002 Location: Sydney, Australia
Title: When Waves Decide To Fly Your Kite …

Posted by: Steve and Callum

Summary: An experienced kitesurfer was out in major swells on an unspecified kite in unspecified winds. He was heading out through a wide breaker zone when passing through a breaking wave he was knocked off his board. The next wave broke over him and slammed and violently tumbled him towards shore. His kite wasn’t waiting patiently through this, as it was dragged shoreward, it was sufficiently near neutral to lose sufficient forward flight speed, causing his kite to stall or luff. The luffed kite provided lots of slack in the bridle and flight lines which through the tumbling of the wave turned Callum into a nice sushi roll, line on the outside. When he was allowed to come up for air when the wave passed his kite lines had wrapped around his neck and his board leash was tied nicely around both legs. The great and terrible thing about traction kites is that they often will not stay stalled for very long, generally only long enough to fall closer to the center of the wind power window, where they will very nicely POWER UP and apply major tension to the flight lines! So he was trussed up and largely immobile except for a heavily repowered up kite pulling very hard on the mess around his neck while the board dragged him in another direction. He of course was along for the ride as he couldn’t even move with major swells spanking him throughout! He didn’t detail how he got out of all this but very fortunately he did, apparently without serious injury. Callum described this experience as “the single scariest moment in my life.â€


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2002 5:27 pm 
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It looks like the file size was too large. I have reproduced the part that wasn't uploaded below. If thess size postings present a problem Toby, please let me know.

Rick Iossi

Kitesurfing Accident and Incident Database (con't.)



UPDATED!

Incident # 11 00 1

Date: November 2000 Location: France

Title: Kitesurfer Fatality

Posted by: Rick Iossi

Summary: An experienced kitesurfer rigged a 4 m kite went out and found that he was underpowered. He came in and rigged a 7 m kite and went back out. The wind picked back up. As he was approaching shore he either jumped deliberately or accidentally initiated a jump. The kitesurfer landed on the beach on his side. He then was dragged headfirst into a wall and suffered a fatal head injury. He was wearing a Gath helmet.

Lessons learned/prevention:

1. Always exercise caution and judgment when selecting the kite type and size that you are going to fly. Try to anticipate condition changes before they come on hard. Regardless, come in a rig down in size or call it a day, as early as possible.

2. Always approach the shore at slow speed, particularly when you come within two kite line lengths of shore, especially with onshore winds. Many or perhaps even most lofting accidents happen with onshore winds precipitated by errors in judgment or simple lack of knowledge about safe technique.

3. If you are accelerating towards shore in a gust or other hazard consider dropping your control bar as early as possible to depower the kite.

4. If you are lofted, let go of the control bar. Mentally rehearse this process to reduce the likelihood that you will "hang on for dear life".

5. If you are lofted and are hooked in, unhook at all costs and consider dropping the control bar. Consider using a snap shackle to secure to the centerline or chicken loop. If you do use a snapshackle frequently mentally rehearse how you will react to lofting circumstances. The rehearsal is key to improving the odds that you will react correctly and in time to save yourself from injury. Consider using one of the new centerline or chicken loops with effective built in safety releases.

6. Select your safety gear carefully, anticipating your protection needs. Wear a well padded, GOOD HELMET. Your selection may make a significant difference in your injuries and recovery if things go very wrong someday.

7. Never jump within two kite line lengths of shore or other hazard.



Comments: This kitesurfer made what may have been considered to be a small error in judgment which ballooned into a very serious, ultimately terminal incident. The possible force of traction kites and weather extremes have the potential to take minor mistakes which would be survivable normal conditions and turn them into health and life threatening conditions. Anticipating conditions and scenarios before they occurred may have helped in this case. Kitesurfers should try to operate with a sufficient factor of safety, e.g. maintaining a minimum safe distance from shore or other hazards, coming in slowly to shore or near hazards, coming in sufficiently before foul weather arrives and even choosing not to kitesurf when conditions are questionable.



UPDATED!



Incident # 9 00 1

Date: September 17, 2000 Location: Boca Raton, FL

Title: Close Call

Posted by: Rick Iossi

Summary: I had just launched my AR5 9.5 m and was still onshore when everything hit

the fan, me included! I remember the kite making it halfway up to the zenith after initial

launch while near the water and really nothing else. I ended up losing about a day and a half of memory to amnesia. I had hooked into the chicken loop just prior to launching. Up to that point winds had been stable at 15-20 mph over two wind checks. Reconstructing things from wind records and the launch area layout, a 40-50 mph gust must have come up and lofted me or involuntarily lifted me about 30 ft high and blew me at speed 80 ft. inland into something hard like a tree or fence or both, just after I launched the kite. I remembered only about a 1.5 second image of descending towards some trees near a house. A deteriorating tropical depression was in the area that day and later on there were tornados sighted along with heavy squalls. I remember trying to unhook but not being able to as the chicken loop had twisted tightly over the harness hook. I wandered around the beach with a severe concussion and lacerated foot for about four hours, half delirious and occasionally passing out. A friend met me and started talking to me as I was laying in front of my building on the grass. He later said I was talking gibberish, making no sense. He saw my lacerated foot and figured out that I should go to the hospital. After 5 days in the hospital, a subsequent week of around the clock, coma-like sleep and relasp followed by three weeks of real thick headedness and loss of short term memory, I started getting back on my feet. The doctor said that without a helmet on, the impact probably would have been fatal. He was uncertain whether I was going to live through the first night at the hospital. It was pretty bad even with a helmet on. I was wearing a marginally padded skateboarding helmet. Since that time I have changed to a much better padded wakeboarding helmet. I recovered pretty much completely after three months and went back to kitesurfing.



Lessons learned/prevention:

1. Keep your kite low as possible while on land or near hard objects. You will be dragged instead of lofted if a strong gust hits. In theory being dragged is better than being lofted, if you react properly and fast enough. Otherwise you can be very seriously injured by dragging.

2. Don't fly in unstable weather. If the weather looks marginal checkout weather radar and play it safe if squalls are moving into your area.

1. Wear a helmet and impact vest.

2. Consider the pros and cons of using a snap shackle to secure your chicken loop. If you do use one, rehearse very frequently what you will do if a strong gust hits and you need to release the snap shackle.



Comments: In some ways, lofting or dragging in sudden gusts are one of the most dangerous conditions that kitesurfers face. If you are offshore, such conditions are more survivable. If you

are on land or near hard objects you may be in for a good dragging and possible kite damage if your kite is low. If you are hooked in, you may be badly injured or worse by the resulting,

involuntary jump or lofting. Fortunately, these gusts are generally rare in many launches but they do occur at most launches. Kitesurfers should avoid unstable weather with the potential for high, sudden gusts with little warning. Such conditions are often associated with squalls, thunderstorm clouds. Kitesurfers may have dozens of great sessions in such conditions with the potential of one very hazardous or possibly terminal session. Reaction decisions made in seconds will likely determine the outcome of the incident. Rehearse dealing with unusual conditions and scenarios

mentally and visualize your reactions frequently.



UPDATED!

Incident # 7 00 01

Date: July 2001 Location: Florida

Title: I feel lightening, is that bad?

Posted by: Rick Iossi

Summary: On two occasions I was out kitesurfing in the summer, trying to get some runs in before the afternoon thunderstorms drove me from the water. Human nature being what it is, I stayed out a bit too long these two times. On one occasion it was painful to hold on to the control bar because of a continuous electrical discharge from it. The second time it was painful to turn the kite as each time I pulled on the bar, I got a shock. In each case I dropped the kite, and used it as a sail to pull me into shore. The lightening started within 15 minutes of each incident.

Lessons learned/prevention:

1. Come in sooner than later when storm clouds are forming. You may have less time to move than you think.

2. Avoid doing strange weather experiments while out kitesurfing, especially involving lightening.

Comments: Lightening is a real threat to kitesurfers when you consider that you may the only one for miles waving a 100 foot lightening rod around on a flat surface. There isn't much agreement about how far in advance of a storm cloud that lightening can strike, from several miles to in excess of ten miles has been proposed. Be sensitive to the threat and constantly aware of the weather. Act well in advance of the storm to preserve your safety when coming in. Recently accounts have been received from snow kiteboarders going through similar sensations without any lightening appearing. In those cases and even in warm weather, if enough atmospheric moisture is present along with a charge differential between the sky and the ground or water and your lines are acting like a moving conductor it is likely that this phenomena will appear. It is spooky at best, whether you call it a day to avoid lightening that may or may not come is up to the rider. Avoid toasting objects while kiting in any case.



Incident # 6 00 1

Date: June 2000 Location: Okinawa

Title: Kite line caution

Posted by: Rick Iossi

Summary: A very experienced Australian kitesurfer was giving lessons in an area that he hadn't kitesurfed in before. He was on a 9 m foil minutes in very smooth 7 - 9 knot winds. He noticed some clouds building up quickly and the wind starting to pick up to around the 12 knot mark. He didn't like the look of the clouds (possible electrical activity) so he decided to play it safe, ditch the kite and swim in from about 1000 ft. He brought the kite to the edge of the wind window and landed it safely as the wind really started to kick in > 15 knots. He swam toward the kite hand-over-hand with the intention of getting hold of the wing and wrapping the kit up before swimming to shore. A violent gust hit the kite while it was still on the water, he let go of the lines but felt some still around his hands. He tried to get clear of them but was unsuccessful. As a result he lost 7mm off the top of his finger, including the tip of finger bone

Lessons learned/prevention:

1. Never swim to the kite unless it is GUARANTEED to not to power up.

2. Know your flight environment. He had only been there a week and the weather patterns were both unfamiliar and different from what he was used to.

3. Leave yourself plenty reserves of time, strength and distance when dealing with potential changes in weather.

4. Wear full finger gloves.

5. If you must swim towards your kite, tension ONE kite line only, as you swim to it. Do not tension more than one line such as can be caused by winding the lines up, until the kite is disabled by someone holding it or until it is disabled on the beach.

Comments: Watch your lines, be prepared avoid connecting with powered up lines or being wrapped by tangles. Be prepared to cut or otherwise deal with kite lines if put at risk.



Incident # 1 00 1

Date: Winter 99/00 Location: Cabrillo Beach, Ca.

Title: Near-Death at Cabrillo

Posted by: Mel

Summary: Helmeted rider was using a 4.9 blade, but the wind increased, & he came in to rig down to a Wipika 5.0 (2-line, with wrist-activated depower/release snap shackle on one line). Once the kite was up, the eyewitness reported the rider was "skiing" across the sand (after which point the rider's memory is blank), towards the big, jagged rocks just over a line length downwind. Once against the rocks, the eyewitness says the rider hooked in, but a big gust came, lifting him & depositing him on the rocks.

Reported Injuries: Broken femur (with internal bleeding), broken wrist (2 places), broken jaw, and severely lacerated calf.

Lessons learned/prevention: : AVOID STORMS, (it was a storm wind, which is typically extremely gusty*), KEEP YOUR KITE LOW ONSHORE and NEAR HARD OBJECTS and WEAR A HELMET (so you might survive the other injuries) and RELEASE/DEPOWER YOUR KITE before it is too late.

*During other such storms I've been standing under the iwindsurf.com anemometer (which is about a line length from the incident site) when it went from under 10 to over 40, nearly instantly (numbers from that anemometer). It isn't always that gusty, but it's usually bad enough that most of the windsurfers don't bother, even though they're desperate for wind, in the winter.

Comments: Even though the lifeguards were right there, the rider apparently nearly died on the way to the hospital. The rider complains whenever I comment publicly on the incident, but I'm doing it anyway, in order to try to prevent future occurrences.

We all need to come forward with more actual accounts to help avoid more of the same happening to other kitesurfers. Mel's comments on lessons learned are classic and well worth paying serious attention to.





Incident #

Date: Location:

Title:

Posted by:

Summary:

Lessons learned/Prevention:

Comments:


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2002 5:45 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2001 1:00 am
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Very interesting!
Everyone should take the time to go through it. Safety IS an issues, until we will get better equipment. But this equipment will never protect us from being lofted.
So always have this in mind and stay calm, when you get lofted to be able to do the right decision and action.

SAFETY FIRST

Toby


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