39 known injures and two deaths have been attributed to the “kite tube,” which was pulled from the market on July 13th. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is performing a safety investigation.
The kite tube is a 10-foot inflatable saucer with fabric flooring. The riders stand inside the device and hold onto grips while a boat pulls them. When the boat reaches around 25 mph the kite tube rises into the air.
The investigation by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests that wind gusts can cause the tube to spin out of control, and a sudden slowing or stopping of the boat can cause the tube to nose-dive into the water, or even cause the tube rider to hit the boat. Once they get airborne there is no stabilizer. When the tube comes crashing back to the water, it’s like landing on concrete if they are going fast enough. Injuries have included back and neck injuries, punctured lungs, broken ribs, jaw fractures, and death. The devices have been banned in many states due to safety concerns.
The recall is on the 53-5000 model sold between October 1, 2006 and July 11, 2006 for $500-$600. The logo includes winged skulls, and a statement “Never kite higher than you’re willing to fall.” The tubes were manufactured by Sportsstuff Inc. of Omaha, Nebraska. They have willingly initiated a voluntary recall of about 19,000 kite tubes sold.
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)