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 Post subject: Kiteboarder Stuck By Lightning
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:34 am 
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A kiteboarder was stuck by lightning on land, kite on the ground, on Monday outside St. Augustine, FL. I understand he was preparing to return to the water but had not launched his kite at the time of the strike. He is recovering in hospital currently. He may be the first kiteboarder who has suffered a direct lightning strike worldwide or at least that I have heard about. It is possible there have been others however. Lets hope the man has a full and rapid recovery. The health effects of lightning strikes to survivors can be quite severe. There have been those they had strikes nearby which they felt through ground transmissions.

"Kite-flying man struck by lightning on Florida beach

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
VILANO BEACH, Fla. -- Authorities say a man who had been flying a large kite is in stable condition after being struck by lightning on a northeast Florida beach.

The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office says Weltzien Falk of St. Augustine was flying the kite with his son Monday afternoon on Vilano Beach.

Deputies tell The St. Augustine Record ( http://bit.ly/SZpJSf) that Falk's son, Kai, said he saw a flash of lightning and felt a tingle. Then he saw that his father had fallen to the ground.

Falk had been wearing a harness with metal rings that attached strings to the kite.

A bystander performed CPR on Falk until rescue workers arrived. Authorities say Falk had burn marks on his left shoulder. His son was not injured.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/10/02/3 ... rylink=cpy"


More early details about the accident and precautions:


HERE



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 Post subject: Re: Kiteboarder Stuck By Lightning
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 7:47 am 
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Hope he will recover fast and well :thumb:

To me it sounds like it has got absolutely nothing to do with kiting whatsoever :-?

There are sometimes soccerplayers or golfers or beachgoers who get hit (and some dies) by lightning, so nothing exceptional about this.

IMO it would be wrong to classify this incident as a "kiteboarder" incident - it is just like any other lightning incident (and they happen all over now and then).

Although - with a kite up it might have been even more likely, true :roll:

:D Peter


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 Post subject: Re: Kiteboarder Stuck By Lightning
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 7:50 am 
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not good news...

I was struck along with 3 others sheltering under a windsurfing sail when I was 18.. we shared the charge so it's didn't do us all a lot of damage, but enough to take us all out for a while..

I brushed up on it since, and there are a lot of circumstances that can change your odds of getting struck, but I'm surprised that more riders are not struck whist flying. The kite is a huge electron source, and if connected the charge/plasma would have to go through the rider which is absolutely what you do not want.
I have been a fair distance from some storms at dusk, and on big jumps you can get a shock on landing as the potential equalises. A few times I have even seen a small flash.

If your survive the strike, then the path that the plasma took through your body can then go septic.. It's a nasty business. If you suspect there is an electrical storm.. go sit in the van...

or if in the open find something tall and sit half the distance of it's height away from it.

hope he recovers quickly...


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 Post subject: Re: Kiteboarder Stuck By Lightning
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 1:29 pm 
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I have been first on sight after 3 gentlemen got hit by lighting in the Jacksonville area. Very frightning as the one guy was smoking and his clothes where blown off. A doctor, with EMS arrived just as I was about to start CPR; don't know how it turned out.

I also had a friend who had a electrical discharge burn up 10,000 ft of cable in a clear blue sky; not sure if that relates to the guy above who feels a discharge when landing with electrical storms in the area. Time to leave the water?

For those reasons if I see any chance of lightning in the area I don't launch a kite and find a safe place to be.


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 Post subject: Re: Kiteboarder Stuck By Lightning
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:47 pm 
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kite was on the ground? the news sounds different?

anyway, fast recovery!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Kiteboarder Stuck By Lightning
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 3:50 pm 
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I am sorry you went through that lightning strike MikeBirt but am glad that you recovered from it. Thanks for passing along your story. I appreciate your information as well kitelivy, it is good to stay aware of the hazard and take it seriously.

There is a TV video interview with the victim at the link above. He is now at home and looks quite good. I hope he lucked out and doesn't suffer some of the serious medical problems that can come with a strike.

I agree Peter, with no kite up, no one on the water, this shouldn't be considered typical kiting accident. The thing is we put ourselves at some risk of strikes routinely riding around squalls. For that reason alone I think it is worth bringing this up and considering what happened and precautions to avoid repetition. Electrical storms are common in Florida particularly so in recent weeks. Kiters should stay aware. To date I am not aware of any kiteboarder fatality from a lightning strike, worldwide. Despite that there have been many dozens of squall wind fatalities and likely hundreds (thousands?) of serious high wind related injury accidents around the world over the years. So, it isn't from lack of trying, is it? Folks often ignore wind hazards and worry about lightning (and shark) strikes. It is ironic.

I have spoken to a couple of kiters in the area, including Eddie Toy with First Coast Kiteboarding who just came in from a downwinder about five miles to the south of the accident area. He may have seen the lightning strike that caused the accident. I also spoke with Brian at Ocean Extreme Kites in St. Augustine. Comments and observations have been included at the link above.


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 Post subject: Re: Kiteboarder Stuck By Lightning
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:34 pm 
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RickI wrote:
Folks often ignore wind hazards and worry about lightning (and shark) strikes. It is ironic


It's a good coincidence that we are afraid of lightning, because it makes us put down our kites at approximately the right time: When the real danger of the outflow boundary, where the wind picks up from 15mph to 70mph in a matter of seconds, is about to happen.

I think from reading that paper on improved lighting rod studies by cb more from 2000 that the reason power kites don't attract lightning is because their shape is too rounded and too large, so it can't build up the charges that a small diamond shaped single line kite can.


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 Post subject: Re: Kiteboarder Stuck By Lightning
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:04 pm 
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Betcha he was one of those dewds who made fun of safety Rick's do's and don'ts.


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 Post subject: Re: Kiteboarder Stuck By Lightning
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:48 pm 
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edt wrote:
RickI wrote:
Folks often ignore wind hazards and worry about lightning (and shark) strikes. It is ironic

It's a good coincidence that we are afraid of lightning, because it makes us put down our kites at approximately the right time: When the real danger of the outflow boundary, where the wind picks up from 15mph to 70mph in a matter of seconds, is about to happen.
I think from reading that paper on improved lighting rod studies by cb more from 2000 that the reason power kites don't attract lightning is because their shape is too rounded and too large, so it can't build up the charges that a small diamond shaped single line kite can.

i suppose you guys know why they are using lightning rods?
now, if you think the rod is there only for attracting the lightning on itself instead of cowbarn nearby, you are wrong.

actually lightning rods are used for minimizing the risk of lightning strike by lowering the electric potential between ground and atmosphere above. rule of thumb for them every rod protects the area around itself with the radius equal to its height. but of course it never protects itself from receiving a direct lightning hits 100%.

may be that is why no kiter with kite up got killed by lightning so far. felt static discharges may be, but not actual strike. saturated with moist salt kite lines are good conductors and that is why they work like lightning rod.

but i'm not going to encourage anyone to kite during the thunderstorm. if you see signs of approaching lightning the best thing to do is to pack up and leave the area.


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 Post subject: Re: Kiteboarder Stuck By Lightning
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:52 pm 
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read that paper by cb moore from 2000 "Lightning Rod Improvement Studies" Lightning rods don't reduce lightning, but the shape is very important, sharp small shapes attract lightning, large round shapes don't.


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