Friday, July 21, 2006

Kite tubes recalled

After national reports of 39 kite tube accidents — which resulted in a broken neck, punctured lung, cracked ribs, a concussion and chest, back and facial injuries — 19,000 kite tubes (inflatable devices that go airborne when towed by a boat) were recalled by Omaha-based Sportsstuff Inc., maker of the Wego kite tube.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is asking people to stop using kite tubes, which sell for $500 to $600. It’s not clear how many were sold in or to residents of Colorado, but from the photo, I'd say you won't mistake this product for any other.

Travis Kladivo, 19, was 10 to 15 feet above the water when a gust of wind swept beneath his kite tube and lifted it another 10 feet into the air. Then he went one way and the tube went another. The splat of Kladivo crashing against the water June 19 was louder than a rifle shot, his father recalled. It left Kladivo face down in the water with a ruptured aorta and two collapsed lungs.

“You’re flying blind,” Kladivo, who had used the tube many times before, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “There’s no way to control it.”

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