An experienced kiter was launching a new 9 m flat kite for the first time in strong, very gusty side onshore winds. The rider had many years experience with C kites but reportedly had less than two sessions with flat kites. A group of riders had visited this launch from out town and had setup up outside of the approved area. The wind record shown below suggests winds 22 gusting to 30 kts. around the time of the accident at 2:30 pm and substantially higher prior. Squalls were reportedly not present with winds resulting from a powerful cold front.
Other experienced kiters were out on 7 m and 9 m flat kites and heavily powered. A bridal line was wrapped around a wingtip without the knowledge of the kiter or his assistant apparently when the kite was picked up to launch.
How the bridle may have been wrapped over the wingtip.
After the kite was released it began to immediately spin out of control, fully powered up looping in the power zone dragging the kiter. The rider had attached his leash above the chicken loop and dropped his bar to fully depower the kite. The depowering mechanism relies upon the leading edge bridle which was snagged in place by the tangle eliminating the depower function. So despite dropping his bar the kite did not significantly depower as he was dragged along.
Another view of how the bridle may have been tangled.
The kiter that had launched him ran forward and jumped on him to hold him in place. Both were subsequently dragged until the helper was knocked off breaking a finger. Another well experienced kiter ran up when the kite hit the ground and grabbed one line to try to depower the kite. The kite relaunched causing a serious cut to the man's little finger and hand.
The rider hit several objects during the dragging including two other kiters standing on the beach and breaking a 4" x 4" timber embedded in the dune with his shoulder.
A similar section of beach with stakes used to rope off the sea oats as well. Smaller timbers are shown in use here than at the scene of the accident.
The kite struck a palm tree, ending the dragging after the rider had traveled about 150 ft. up the beach. Aside from cuts and bruises the rider and other participants were reportedly OK. The one man that grabbed the kite line received stitches for his hand laceration.