I thought to post my freak accident here as it looks like the most appropriate session (previously posted in a different topic)..
On a very windy day, gusty at over 40kn while I was out enjoying possibly one of the best session of the year, boosting good airs on my twin tip in what we call an 'epic session'. All of a sudden the CL of my RRD Obsession 7m came off unexpectedly (due to the weak and thin RRD donkey dick) and the kite instead to depower started looping until it crashed on the water and I begun recovering. The kite then relaunched fully powered and started looping faster than ever pulling me from the safety leash. At that point the bar snapped in mid air due to the crazy force and the looping kite turned into an helicopter like, deadly spinning machine...
While I was being pulled at high I was drinking so much sea water and so quickly, due to the splashes on the water surface
. I couldn't pull the release handle as the leash was clipped to the hanldepass at the back of the harness and it was stuck somewhere were I could not reach or find. The safety knife in my harness was impossible to find either, as I never used it before and while literally drowning I couldn't get hold of it. I was trying to pull the harness off me but that was impossible too as the bar did not have a simple and fast release system...
I was living my worst lifetime nightmare, of an happy life full of extreme sports experiences of all types, where safety has always come first and together with my good fit and skills, I never managed to be in a totally 'out of control' situation where you are just waiting to die helpless
I was heading fast, very fast towards shore, where concrete groyns and a promenade full of buildings were waiting for me. I looked around for help and I saw another kiter behind me, We look at each other and I was trying to ask for help while I suddenly I passed out and my body went underwater while being pulled towards shore by the frenzy kite. I drowned and reached shore lifeless, when my death ride finally came to an end, like mission was completed. Miraculously at this point I stop there and one of my mates manages to stop the freak kite landing it. The kiter in the water, followed me to shore and dumped his kite heading straight towards me, he pulled me off the water on the beach and saw me blue in the face, bloated and looking like a dead monster
. Luckily he didn't panic and he started immediately CPR. He used to be a windsurf instructor and he learned it in a training course..
What an amazing guy, my life saving angel.. we've become friends now, he's a real special person. I feel so sorry for having put so much pressure and such a big burden on him!
All the bad luck that put me in such a freak accident all of a sudden turned into good, and an unprecedented and perfectly orchestrated team work of buddies, kiters and walkers by came together in such a desperate scenario to rescue me. Ben the kiter who rescued me together with Doug, my best buddy, performed over 2 minutes of CPR in a desperate way but still I didn't give any sign of life, or pulse, which together with the first minute or two when I was drowned, we were heading to a tragic end. They battled so much to bring me back until I finally started coughing out froth and swearing to my death
. with my best buddy next to me, all the paramedics and an amazing tube blowing fresh oxygen into my lungs full of sea. What a fantastic job everyone did, I will never be thankful enough to all the people involved in my rescue. It's a miracle to be still here and to be able to tell this freak story. Thank you all amazing people of Brighton UK!
I then also survived to what is called 'secondary drowning', while taken to the local hospital in intensive care, where I was given 50% chances to survive due to the amount of sea water in my lungs. 24 hours of oxygen later, I was given the total clear, I made it. According to the doctors my luck was not to be a smoker and be a fit man, who received an immediate CPR straight after drowning...
I've been so spooked out about this experience that I considered to give up kiting, but this thought was making me more and more unhappy and sad inside. It's hard to give up your biggest passion for a failure which you don't feel 100% responsible for. Yes I've made some wrong decisions like clipping the safety leash at the back of the harness, but mainly it was a gear failure and a combination of difficult circumstances
One month and a week later, I went back to my passion and I feel my life complete again, but I need to regain confidence and change all my gear including kites, bars, harness and leashes
This is an amazing step forward for me in such a short period of time, although it didn't quite feel the same as before. My physical scars are gone, the psychological is slowly healing, but this one might take more time. I'm so glad that I am alive and I am still part of this real special community of brave fighters
So from now on, for me it's going to be all about SAFETY, more than ever before!
My tips are:
1. NEVER CLIP YOUR LEASH TO THE BACK OF THE HARNESS.
2. NEVER GO OUT ON YOUR OWN OR IN REMOTE AREAS IN BIG CONDITIONS.
3. ALWAYS CARRY 2 KNIFES, ONE IN THE HARNESS AND ONE IN YOUR BOARD SHORTS POCKET (NOT JUST THE LITTLE HOOK KNIFE, WHICH MIGHT BE COMPLETELY USELESS IN SOME SITUATIONS!), AND ABOVE ALL GET FAMILIAR WITH THEM! TRAIN TO USE THEM FAKING EMERGENCY SCENARIOS.
4. THINK ABOUT SAFETY AND SAFETY SYSTEMS MORE, NOT JUST KITE FLYING SPECS. SAFETY IS NOT A BEGINNER ISSUE!!! GET FAMILIAR WITH YOUR RELEASE SYSTEMS, TRAIN HOW TO USE THEM AND TEST THEM BEFORE EACH SESSION.
5. DO NOT TRUST OR USE CHICKEN LOOPS WHICH CAN COME OFF, SOME OF THEM DO (RRD IS ONE) AVOID THEM AS THEY CAN EASILY KILL YOU.
6. LEARN CPR, DO A COURSE OR ORGANIZE ONE LOCALLY FOR ALL SURFERS, YOU CAN SAVE LIVES… THIS GOES ACTUALLY FURTHER THAN JUST THE BEACH/SEA, YOU COULD SAVE A FAMILY MEMBER HAVING A HEART ATTACK FOR EXAMPLE..
7. LIFE IS ATTACHED TO A THIN STRING (JUST LIKE THE KITE LINES), APPRECIATE EVERYTHING YOU HAVE AND BE GRATEFUL AS YOU CAN LOOSE IT AT ANY TIME UNEXPECTEDLY. ENJOY THE MOMENT, THE NOW. SPREAD LOVE AND PEACE
KITE SAFE, ALWAYS
I hope that this will help others...
There is a very interesting safety session on this website, go and read it.. I never paid any attention to it before...