Holland Fatality Summary

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Holland Fatality Summary

Post  David Furchtgott on Sat Jul 19, 2008 5:34 am

I send my sincere regrets and wish for solace to the family, friends of this man and to all kiteboarders in the Netherlands.

The accident involved a kiteboarder of two seasons experience who was also an IKO instructor. The rider had a reputation for being cautious. The accident occurred at Slufter or Maasvlakte in southwestern Holland along the North Sea Coast on November 26, 2003 at about 1300 (1 pm). Where accounts differ, two or more variations are given.

Slufter is located approximately 21 km (30 miles), west of Rotterdam and south of a shipping channel.

An aerial view of the general Slufter area showing the location of the accident.

Winds were reported to be 6-7 Beauford (22 to 33 kts.) and gusting to as high as 37 kts. near onshore to side onshore as depicted below with an air temperature around 10 C (51 F):

A view of the launch area showing the line of poles, approximate wind direction, launch and accident locations.

Other riders had been out earlier but had come in to avoid rain that had been forecast for the afternoon. The rider was assumed to have been excited about getting out to try a new kiteboard. Perhaps because he was eager to get out, he did some things out of the ordinary for him, including:

1.He brought along a reel leash presumably to take care of his new board,

2.He forgot to bring his helmet which he customarily wore.

The rider weighed around 100 to 110 kg (220 to 240 lbs.) and had rigged a Naish 8 m, Aero II. His bar was rigged with an unspecified chicken loop quick release. Riders that had been out earlier in the day were using 8 to 10 m kites in similar wind conditions with no reported problems.

It has been indicated that even though the beach is quite large that there are constraints on kite launching. The area to the left of the line of posts shown in the photo is a closed, environmentally protected area. The area to the right of the posts in the downwind direction becomes deep rapidly and has a very strong current making launching difficult. These constraints apparently motivated the rider to launch approximately 30 m (100 ft.), upwind of the line of timber pilings that had been driven into the sand as shown in the photo.

The rider rigged and launched on his own. He reportedly walked up to where his board was located near the waters edge and knelt down to attach his reel leash to the board. Presumably he was facing seaward at this point. The time was about two hours before high tide. His kite was overhead or at the zenith at this point. The kite was flying fast and was a bit “nervousâ€

This accident underscores how small choices and errors can be very substantially amplified in high winds potentially with severe consequences. Things can go from annoying to disastrous in seconds, sometimes leaving the kiteboarder with few viable reactions in the minimal time available. If you launch in high winds it is a given that your factor of safety automatically is reduced.

It has been said before but it is worth saying again here. Kiteboarding can seem to be deceptively easy and safe for that matter. This tendency has encouraged marginal kiteboarding practices for sometime because riders often get away unscathed.

Rushing to the beach and rig up has been a factor in many kiteboarding accidents. Considering the tremendous force and speed of events in a kiteboarding accident haste to rig up has no place in this sport especially in strong winds, as hard as it might be to resist. Try to carry spare gear in your car or bag to avoid having to try to “make dueâ€

I just received additional information about the bar the rider was using. The bar was in fact the one intended to be used with the 8 m kite. It happens that the bar is fairly long and is supplied for use with both 8 and 12 m Aero II kites. Early reports mistakenly identified the bar as being from a 16 m kite. The summary has been modified to reflect this new information.

David Furchtgott

Number of posts : 118
Age : 40
Localización : Playa del Carmen
Registration date : 2008-06-16

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