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Kiter Killed
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beallmd



Joined: 10 May 1998
Posts: 1074

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the poor understanding and use of statistical risk is apparent here. While it is possible to die laying in bed or walking the dog it is extremely unlikely. It is also true that you are more likely on Maui to die of lightning than a shark encounter. HOWEVER; when someone is bit by a shark at a beach or even when one or more are sighted they close the beach! They don't say go ahead and swim as you are more likely to die from a lightning strike... Medical drugs and devices are researched long and hard before being released but drugs have still sometimes turned out to be unsafe when in widespread use. If kites were drugs they would be taken off the market and the lawyers would sue. These are relative risks and kiting is clearly relatively more risky than many other behaviours, I suspect when one applies for life insurance they will soon be asking if you kite along with skydiving etc.
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jrg



Joined: 02 Apr 1995
Posts: 128

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, kiting is dangerous (and windsurfing to a lesser degree).
But here are some statictics (from Rick Iossi) to put it in perspective:

Motor Vehicle 15 per 100,000
Kitesurfing 6 to 12 per 100,000
SCUBA diving 5 per 100,000
Pedestrian 2 per 100,000

ACTIVITY Falalities/l00,000 (1993)

Driving a car 28
15-25 year-old male driving 50
Motorcycle rider 80
Motorcycle in Arkansas 250
All terrain vehicle 36

Airshow 500
Home-built aircraft 300
General aviation 145
Ballooning 67
Sailplane soaring 45
Skidiving 25
Hang gliding 22
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geohaye



Joined: 03 Apr 2000
Posts: 1355

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2007 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jay Runge died one year ago: in June, 2006. It is a fitting time to say what a fine person he was. I am certain that all of those who knew him will never forget him. Many of us cared for him deeply and whether his death could be termed kiteboarding-related, or not, doesn't matter at all compared to the fact that he is no longer with us.

For the record, the closest we ever got to knowing what really happened to Jay are the following accounts of that day:

JACK HODGES' MESSAGE FROM JUNE, 2006:
RE: Red Geo Metro filled with Winsurf gear
According to Sally, someone told him that he should go to the end of the pier and see if he could jump off to save his kite, but I do not know who that was, whether he went, nor whether he was seen after that. We are trying to reach him by email or phone now. I am beginning to get worried because for one it is rare that we donít see Jay almost every day and for two he isnít the type to leave his car around. If anyone has information about Jay please post it. Thanks. Jack

BRIC'S MESSAGE FROM JUNE, 2006:
And the following message was posted by Bric a few days later. We have no idea exactly how Jay died. But clearly, if the injury or hypothermia involved the kite or involved retrieving the kite, then it was unfortunately certainly a kiteboarding-related death as much as the out-of-control-kite death on land near Santa Cruz last week was a kiteboarding-related death.

"On Thursday June 1st, Jay and Jack mentioned that a kite was ditched
in the bay. I saw it and decided to go try to salvage it before it
hit the bridge. By the time I got to the kite, a body was with it.
The owner had jumped off the pier to salvage his kite. I tried
bodydragging him back to shore, but the bridge was getting too close,
so I had to leave him. I ended up bodydragging back to the bay and
went under the san mateo bridge, and then bodydragged back to shore
once on the other side. Jay and Jack drove to the bridge and
monitored the situation. Someone called the fire dept and the guy
with the kite was ultimately rescued.
That was Thursday, the following Sunday June 4th, I saw a red kite go
down pretty far out. I kept an eye on him expecting he'd get the kite
relaunched. The next time I looked over, the kite was a runaway. I
picked up the guy, who turned out to be Jay. I bodydragged him back
to shore and we landed at the windsurfing launch area. The last time
I saw his kite it was heading towards the middle span of the bridge.
After I safely dropped him off I went back out but didn't see his kite
near the previous trajectory. I figured it had gone underneath the
bridge and was on it's way to dumbarton and the east bay.
Jay mentioned trying to go after his kite, maybe using his windsurfer.
Thinking back, after bodydragging with Jay, my riding sucked
afterwards. I thought I was just tired from my hours of riding. Now
I wonder if it was early signs of hypothermia. Jay had been in the
water for a good 20 min before I picked him up. And we were in the
water for a good 20 min during our bodydrag. If his kite was where
the guy's kite was on Thursday, he would have had at least a 1 hour
swim back to shore. I fear that hypothermia got the best of him.
Does anybody know if he was wearing his helmet or life jacket?
I am very sorry that we lost Jay.
I believe the whole reason Jay is not here is he was trying to save
his kite.
-Bric"



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victor



Joined: 03 Aug 1998
Posts: 558

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2007 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

at crissy i've noticed the majority of the people being rescued by the coast guard and other boats are kiters.

looks like a fun sport until there's a problem.
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andydavis



Joined: 11 Apr 1999
Posts: 268
Location: Point Isabel

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2007 2:33 pm    Post subject: comparison to car fatality statistics Reply with quote

"...But here are some statictics (from Rick Iossi) to put it in perspective:

Motor Vehicle 15 per 100,000
Kitesurfing 6 to 12 per 100,000..."

That comparison is a little misleading, since it's 15/100,000 in a lifetime of car trips. The comparison should be per passenger mile, or per trip, or normalized for time spent in the activity.

I believe the most dangerous activity is still flying your own homebuilt aircraft at an airshow.
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beallmd



Joined: 10 May 1998
Posts: 1074

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2007 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the motor vehicle fatality rate is 15 per 100,000 PER YEAR. or about 42,000 per year for about 3 million population. IT is the leading cause of death for teens in the usa, I think about it every time my son goes out the door. we loose about 60 to 80 people per year in Reno's washoe county, nevada. Our overall traffic death rate is closer to 20 per 100,000 per year. BUT; if you don't drink and drive you cut the rate in half, roughly.
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edscott



Joined: 27 Mar 1994
Posts: 130

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2007 5:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Windsurfing/Kite Fatality Database for SF Bay Reply with quote

alextarg wrote:
I looked in my SFBA archives and found the following SF Bay Area windsurfing/Kite fatalities (If you can add to this database please post):

Age/date/Name/Locale/Vehicle
18/June 2007/Abraham, Derek/Santa Cruz/Kite
53/June 2006/Runge, Jay/3rd Ave/Kite
??/Sept 2003/Graham, Tyrone/3rd Ave/Windsurf
35/May 1996/Woodhall, Barnes/Oyster Point/Windsurf

Considering how few regulars of there are out on the bay, and that there are far more serious injuries than deaths, this is a sobering list. I remember them when I put on my PFD before each launch.


No one knows for sure what happened to Jay from what I understand unless a coroner's report was made public, but if I were to guess, I would say that he died of non-kitesurfing injuries. Eirther fatal head injury or drowning after a serious injury. The speculation is that he jumped off the fishing pier at low tide to retrieve his kite which had wrapped around the pier and hit something. Not sure if you could really consider that "kitesurfing" related, since it could have been a windsurfer which got lost but so be it. It's certainly true that kiting was the proximate cause of his death since but for losing his kite and trying to retrieve it, he wouldn't have died, whatever specifically happened in that instance.

As for other fatalities, there is Gordon French the windsurfer who died on the coast about 5 year ago from a congenital heart condition. Theres the guy who broke his neck at low tide at Third on a nuclear day in the mid-nineties and was found in Palo Alto a couple days later (Howie somebody?). There's also the other windsurfer that died in the channel at Third (?) in the early 90's, I believe, of a heart attack. Others probably know more detail than me on these like Ken Poulton.

Not to say that kitesurfing is not dangerous, just have not been a lot of local fatalities. Local permanent injuries (woman at Alameda - permanent brain injury, Tran - life-threatening injuries), are indicative of this imho. Out-of-state fatalities and serious injuries seem much more common, maybe that they are underreported locally or that local sailors have a better skill set.




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wilcoxm



Joined: 04 May 1998
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2007 5:36 pm    Post subject: comparing statistics Reply with quote

andydavis is correct, unless you normalize it to a per ride, trip, mile, time, jump, etc, it doesn't work well to assign risk or compare it to other activities. Yes, 'ride' and 'trip' are vague, but they are better than nothing.

Obviously, a person who travels 500 miles a week in their vehicle is at greater risk to become one of the 15 fatalities per 100,000 (people) every year vs. the person who travels 10 miles a week in their vehicle. Same goes for all the other activities.
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madmax7



Joined: 07 Mar 1997
Posts: 556
Location: So Calif

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2007 10:50 pm    Post subject: statistics Reply with quote

where on earth do you find 100,000 riders.

But you can find 6 deaths...
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SWE106



Joined: 14 Feb 2005
Posts: 263
Location: San Mateo

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regardless of the way Ray tragically died in a kite-related accident, it amazes me that the sport and its praticitioners does not seem to pay much notice or puts immediate actions into place that prevent accidents, such as the latest one in Santa Cruz, in the direct future.

Kite deaths are not new and the kite industry should address them very seriously ASAP. Too bad that a sport somehow needs death to weed out the unaware and unserious. I thought civilization had gone beyond survival of the fittest... Because it may be an extrem sport is never reason enough to not address deadly accidents.

If practitioners of this sport do not learn from the deaths of there fellow kiters, addapt their equipment and behaviour, the suffering and lose of innocent kiters and (wind)surfers through irresponsible behaviour and faulty equipment will continu.

These issues are of a very low "aloha-content", while our sport(s) are all about aloha. I hope the aloha spirit prevails on the water and on the beach.
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