I suspect that Alex (for knowing him) was on the other side of the Montréal Island where S and SW winds come in clean. The issue is that the lakes are very high and the ususal spot at the OKA national park which is facing SW is not accessible as the water goes all the way up to the wood. So the people go to that other spot which is good for E, SE, S and SSW (even there, part of the beach is partly sheltered). The beach being bordered by tall Pines is impossible to ride safely in anything else than Side ON or onshore winds. SW must have been SIDESHORE (my friend Mo who atempted CPR) said he was moving parellel to the shore so he would have never land on any type of Bozo beach or private property for about 10km. SW winds at that lead to very unstable air close to shore. Since he was noticed only once kitelooping, no one can tell if the turbulent air close to shore is responsible. A few things are sure:
1- the water is around 10C air temp 15C
2-Water level is high so escape routes are limited and far between
3-It was not the optimal spot for that Wind direction
4-Wind was strong and gusty but we are used to gusts that are often greater than 50% of the average Wind (15 gusting to 25 with lulls at 10 is our reality)
5-The vicitm was not wearing a PFD as required by law (confirmed by the folks who picked him up)
6-the released (F-ONE bandit velcro release) had not been activated and seemed to have been twisted towards the Inside of the CL(again, info from the people who were in the boat and picked him up)
Yesterday, at a another spot, there were 2 events of deathloops, one resulting in a tangle but no injuries because the Wind was just off from Oneshore and the water depth at 300m is waistdeep, so you can be out and be dragged towards the shore to a safe depth within a few loops. Those happen because you have to drift launch . We help each other a lot but in 10C water, not just anyone can jump in the water to launch you..
This is very sad news.
I think that the best way to honor this person is to learn from this accident and try to prevent similar accidents in the future. How could we have prevented this from happening, or how can we prevent this happening again in the future?
Now we all have this opportunity to review and upgrade our own Risk Management Practices. Unfortunately this is not the first apparent drowning by kite loop. So we all know that a fully functional Chicken Loop release is essential.
These should be tested in the magazines and compared for the consumer, and the public needs to demand better safety systems. However even a good CL release is not enough, because if the kite loops more than 4-5 times the lines can get too much friction to let the kite depower even if the CL is released. And if the CL is stuck in the harness hook, it doesn't matter if you release the kite leash you will still be stuck. All kites can get tangled and power-loop, some more than others, and most kites have some sort of bridles.
The big lesson here I think is Compounding Risk Factors;
Bad launch site, side offshore wind, super gusty wind, kiting alone (no buddy), no PFD.
All of these factors together increased the risks significantly. A kite is more likely to loop in gusty wind. The more often it crashes the more likely to get tangled and start looping. Then in strong wind if it starts looping it is more dangerous because it is harder to unhook. When kiting alone there is no one to help or raise the immediate alarm. So a relatively common problem (a kite looping) turned deadly because of the bad weather conditions and the compounding risk factors. Sometimes fate cannot be averted, but a lot of the time good Risk management practices can save your life. The decision to go or not go is up to the kiter, but having an experienced kite buddy might have helped make a difference.
I hope what we learn from this tragedy can help save others from a similar fate.
Condolences to his family.