SHOCKED members of the kitesurfing fraternity have reiterated the need for safety procedures following a serious accident at Sandbanks.
A kitesurfer was airlifted to hospital with head injuries following the accident at Sandbanks beach on Sunday lunchtime.
According to witnesses he was blown into a beach sign then into buildings on nearby Shore Road.
Paramedics treated him at the scene and he was taken to Southampton General Hospital where emergency doctors were standing by.
Kitesurfer Chris Skone-Roberts, who has worked for years to enhance safety surrounding the extreme sport, told the Daily Echo: “This is a tragic accident and the entire kitesurfing community, from beginners right up to pros, are all sending their thoughts to the victim and his family.”
The accident happened close to The Jazz Cafe, known locally as Jazzys. Local kitesurfers say a gap in buildings in that area can often make the wind ‘tunnel’.
This can cause kitesurfers to be dragged away from the water towards the road.
Shocked witness Pauline Williams, posting on an online kitesurfer forum, said: “Really hope the lad that was launched into building by Jazzys going to be OK. Wasn’t looking too good when they finally got him stable to move into ambulance. Hope he makes a full recovery.”
Gary Palmer posted: “I hope he’s alright and everyone learns something from this. I didn’t wear my helmet today. Think I’ll put it back on after reading this.”
According to some reports the kitesurfer was flung into the toilet block next to The Jazz Cafe, while winds were blowing between 20 and 40 knots.
Mr Skone-Roberts said: “It could all happen to anyone. The number one thing for everyone taking part in kitesurfing is to wear a helmet and know your safety parameters. Someone broke their back at the same place a couple of years ago.
"It can be a very dangerous activity. You have to have lessons. It is not just a case of going into a shop, buying a kite and pumping it up. It is a level four extreme sport.“
"If I tied a kite to the back of a Land Rover and sent the kite into power loops I could drag the Land Rover. That’s a huge amount of power.”