Alameda Lofting Incident

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Alameda Lofting Incident

Postby OliverG » Mon Sep 20, 2004 7:07 am

Well upwind of the kite launch area, a kiter launched a 16m kite at a time when all other kiters were on anything between an 8m and 11m. He subsequently was lofted close to 20' high and travelled a distance of 125' across the road into a tree. The kite looped and tore him out of the tree into the ground. Luckily, given the situation, he only suffered a broken arm, some facial injury and a concussion.

At one point prior to the accident, I had seen a kite being pumped up at the upper parking lot, but had thought nothing of it. Not long afterwards, i heard a loud thump, and saw the kite downed in the parking lot. The guy next to me said to his friend, "Did you see that?" I thought it was nothing more than a crashed kite.

Why was putting up a 16? Why wasn't he at the proper launch? Had he been at the launch, chances are very good that his kite size would have been questioned. Perhaps, it was his only kite and he convinced himself he was going to kite and he could handle it.

At the launch, I also saw someone launch a 14 and get lofted about 6' and spun around. Luckily, he regained control of the kite. Putting up clearly oversized kites in high winds is not smart obviously, but some people are going to anyway, so keep an eye out if you can and help prevent incidents of this kind.....

Be Safe!
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Postby knyfe » Mon Sep 20, 2004 12:46 pm

oh, that was the storry with the police cars.

I started with 14 and changed to a 10 later on which was really fun. Guys, it seems to me as we need to take more care of each other. Especially the high wind days at the end of the season are always challenging as the newbees tend to underestimate the high winds as they are rare during the summertime.

Most probably he didnt want to lauch in the proper area as it was really unorganized when I went out. Somehow we need to establish more discepline to keep this area clear. It works at 3rd, so why not at Alameda? Any recommendations how to imporve it?

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Postby username » Mon Sep 20, 2004 2:35 pm

Truly, it was a sad scene. I think people (kiters) were so excited to go out hey forgot to use their common sense. This is what I learned, strong wind small kite, light wind bigger kite. It was what 20-25 knots this weekend? We were out with an 8 practicing our body dragging techniques the wind was so strong that I lost my orientation a couple of times. Later that afternoon I was going to bust out my 12 (im 230 ish), but I decided not to (I got scared). Just use your common sense peps because right now, after the accident we are under a microscope.
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Postby username » Mon Sep 20, 2004 2:39 pm

Truly, it was a sad scene. I think people (kiters) were so excited to go out hey forgot to use their common sense. This is what I learned, strong wind small kite, light wind bigger kite. It was what 20-25 knots this weekend? We were out with an 8 practicing our body dragging techniques the wind was so strong that I lost my orientation a couple of times. Later that afternoon I was going to bust out my 12 (im 230 ish), but I decided not to (I got scared). Just use your common sense peps because right now, after the accident we are under a microscope.
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Postby Sander » Mon Sep 20, 2004 7:46 pm

Best wishes for a speedy recovery for the kiter who is in the hospital, supposedly with substantial injuries, including broken bones.
Think of all the close calls you've had and seen and the few unfortunate accidents that have actually occured at Alameda and elsewhere.
We (individual kiters, kiting schools/instructors, and kiting stores) need to use our collective knowledge and do something proactive, or at least something so that beginners will learn from these accidents, mistakes and close calls and be less likely to repeat them.
I think all can agree that everyone's (including newbies) safety is important, and in fact crucial for the perpetuation of water access priveleges and rights.
Could it be as simple as posting mobetter signage? Other ideas?
How about a safety meeting in Alameda/Bay Area soon, including as many voices as possible?

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Postby knyfe » Tue Sep 21, 2004 9:11 am

Sander,

a safety meeting is a good idea if there were no rules at all. but the situation in Alameda is different. There is the nice board with the clear instructions what to do where. We just have to follow the rules and also meed to make shure that others follow the rules. It really works fine on 3rd (even without bord) and it should be also possible in Alameda. Or do you know what makes the difference?

The only thing I like to bring up is the "keep it low and go" which would mean starting the kite viseversa in Alameda (kite towards the water). This is generally a really good rule. But ONLY if the kite is kept low until you are out on the water. I dont want to think about this rule for a beginner (... or a pro) who mess up his launch. He will hit the street much easier. Other opinions?

CU, K.
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kiting accident

Postby Donna » Tue Sep 21, 2004 12:19 pm

Was this guy a newbie, overconfident or arrogant?

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Postby username » Tue Sep 21, 2004 5:39 pm

Hmmm... have you guys heard anything from the park and rec. or from the city regarding the accident? Iím just worried that they might use it to restrict access or even banning kite surfing at Alameda.

-concerned noob :oops:
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Further Clarifications on the Accident

Postby OliverG » Tue Sep 21, 2004 9:48 pm

From another post regarding the accident, which is really kind of scary, as it appears that this accident really should not have happened, but did by means of nothing more than bad judgement and "crowded" conditions. :(

"I just read through L.M.G's lofting posting and wanted to clear up rumors from yesterday's accident and some myths re: Alameda

I spoke directly with the guy who launched Jeremy. Here's what he said:

- He and Jeremy thought the launch area would be "too crowded" so they decided to launch elsewhere.

-Jeremy did not self-launch

-He didn't know why he and Jeremy decided to have such bad judgement in terms of launching a 16m kite. Both he and Jeremy are keenly aware that wind plays a factor in the size kite you launch. They just made a bad judgement call, plain and simple.

-Jeremy has broken hips, sacram, ribs and wrist (or arm) and an injured spleen and sterum. He stopped breathing for almost 30 seconds. Fortunately, he was wearing a helmet and did not sustain any head injuries.

-Jeremy is a doctor. He is lucky his fellow kiter was also a doctor. "
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Safety and Access

Postby Sander » Wed Sep 22, 2004 10:15 am

The city, EBRPD, or injured bystanders will take action when a kiter's actions cause injury or damage to non-kiters and/or their property. This could include lawsuits against the kiter and/or loss of access for all. I once saw a kite land on a bicyclist who had stopped to watch on the bike path. Fortunately it did not repower and another guy and I ran to untangle the bicyclist from the lines.

I agree with Knyfe that we need to be diligent about looking out for newbies, both out of concern for everyone's safety and for continued access. I think Alameda is unique because the long beach lets people launch from anywhere along a 1+ mile long stretch and so newbies can be out of eyesite of more experienced kiters.

Yes, there are good rules at the hut. But, should a sign be placed near where the accident occured (and other potential launching areas) informing people to use the kitelaunch area next to the hut?

I think Knyfe also has a good point about launching with kite directed towards water. I have seen kiters successfully launch this way in Alameda. It is only awkward because most kiters launch with kite directed towards land.

Any other ideas on how to prevent the same mistake(s) from happening again?
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