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Casualty in Sicily

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pmaggie
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Re: Casualty in Sicily

Postby pmaggie » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:27 pm

This video was shot near Palermo (75 miles from Lo Stagnone) probably the same day.

https://video.repubblica.it/edizione/pa ... P4-S1.4-T1

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Re: Casualty in Sicily

Postby FLandOBX » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:38 pm

pmaggie wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:05 am
You will for sure pardon my poor english since this will be a long post. I was thinking yesterday night about the accident. Apparently, every of us here in front of our pc screen is cautious and reasonable. The video of the squall coming speaks for itself, it's a totally no go situation. It's so easy to say "only a fool etc." and it is the real real real truth. There was no need to be a genius nor a meteo expert to understand it was so dangerous to launch a kite. But. But. I put myself on the crime scene. I'm on the beach, I'm not alone. The wind is picking up, I really WANT to kite (the poor guy was French, so for sure he went to Lo Stagnone exactly for this reason, he was not a local who can wait the next windy day). I think "tomorrow I'm leaving". Also, some other guys are pumping. The atmosphere is euphoric, "il vento" (the wind), someone says "it will last half an hour, we better go immediately". I started windsurfing in 1982 and I witnessed an infinite number of situation like this one. Here on the lake we call this type of weather "ricaduta", that means "relapse". Back to the scene: two, three, ten are going in the water. Am I staying on the beach and just watch? The right answer is "yes, you stupid! Can't you see a squall is coming?". But I'm not sure my answer would have been the right one. I think that sometimes the situation overwhelm the reason, making an otherwise clever man like a child. It's the classic adrenaline, you're urged, you're forced to kite, there's something in you're mind that pushes you to go out, it's like there's no tomorrow. This is, I think, the same pulsion that pushes a kiter to drive for hours, to wait for nothing, to loose time and money just for that cursed hour of kiteboarding. It's stupid, I know, but it is what a lot of us really feel.
This accident and all the other accidents must be a severe lesson. May a squall come while I'm on the beach, I hope I will remember how you can loose your life for half an hour of kiting. But I frankly don't feel comfortable if I declare "in his shoes, I'm sure I would have remained on the beach". I'm so sorry that these poor guys lost their life doing what they loved and I'm so sorry to think that it could have happened also to me it the same exact situation. We all, as kiters, must honor these lost lives and our sport committing ourselves to always think "safety first". That is, I repeat, not so obvious as it could appear.
Well said, pmaggie. You are right. No matter how experienced, anyone of us can have a lapse in judgment. Possibly fatal. (And your English is very good....eloquent. :thumb: )

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Re: Casualty in Sicily

Postby juandesooka » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:01 pm

pmaggie wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:05 am
You will for sure pardon my poor english since this will be a long post. I was thinking yesterday night about the accident. Apparently, every of us here in front of our pc screen is cautious and reasonable. The video of the squall coming speaks for itself, it's a totally no go situation. It's so easy to say "only a fool etc." and it is the real real real truth. There was no need to be a genius nor a meteo expert to understand it was so dangerous to launch a kite. But. But. I put myself on the crime scene. I'm on the beach, I'm not alone. The wind is picking up, I really WANT to kite (the poor guy was French, so for sure he went to Lo Stagnone exactly for this reason, he was not a local who can wait the next windy day). I think "tomorrow I'm leaving". Also, some other guys are pumping. The atmosphere is euphoric, "il vento" (the wind), someone says "it will last half an hour, we better go immediately". I started windsurfing in 1982 and I witnessed an infinite number of situation like this one. Here on the lake we call this type of weather "ricaduta", that means "relapse". Back to the scene: two, three, ten are going in the water. Am I staying on the beach and just watch? The right answer is "yes, you stupid! Can't you see a squall is coming?". But I'm not sure my answer would have been the right one. I think that sometimes the situation overwhelm the reason, making an otherwise clever man like a child. It's the classic adrenaline, you're urged, you're forced to kite, there's something in you're mind that pushes you to go out, it's like there's no tomorrow. This is, I think, the same pulsion that pushes a kiter to drive for hours, to wait for nothing, to loose time and money just for that cursed hour of kiteboarding. It's stupid, I know, but it is what a lot of us really feel.
This accident and all the other accidents must be a severe lesson. May a squall come while I'm on the beach, I hope I will remember how you can loose your life for half an hour of kiting. But I frankly don't feel comfortable if I declare "in his shoes, I'm sure I would have remained on the beach". I'm so sorry that these poor guys lost their life doing what they loved and I'm so sorry to think that it could have happened also to me it the same exact situation. We all, as kiters, must honor these lost lives and our sport committing ourselves to always think "safety first". That is, I repeat, not so obvious as it could appear.
This is a very good explanation of a situation I know all too well, when stoke overtakes reason, the kite brain kicks in, and dumb things happen. I have had my share of these, and sometimes these kitemares (and boatmares, snowboardmares, surfmares, etc) wake me up in the night, thinking about how close disaster was and how not worth it that session was in retrospect. I try to learn from my mistakes, still chasing the stoke, but making better choices, not dance so close to that edge. When we see this kind of thing brewing with friends and visitors, I think we have an obligation to try and help them avoid disaster ... even if it makes you the local safety kook and wet blanket. Another tragic loss ... my thoughts are with this fellow wind chaser's family and friends.

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Re: Casualty in Sicily

Postby RickI » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:04 pm

Thank you for all your input on this and other situations pmaggie over the years, it is much appreciated. You make a number of good points. I think it is important for the kiting community to take a hard look at dangerous weather for what it is. The fact that there was an absurd quantity of kiters on the water in the video shows there is a significant problem with perception. People may not understand the hazards these storms pose or simply may not appreciate the risk or they may think they can "handle" what comes. Newer tech does allow for a better response but that assumes you act properly in time, many fail to do this, that the device works, isn't disabled by a tangle on the kiter, another kiter, etc. etc.. In our minds we may think, I will be ok, the other guy always gets hurt after all. The gust can come at such high speed, IF you ignore all the prior signs, that it may defy your ability to react in time. This has happened so many times before.

None of this is new nor is the case of experienced kiters INTENTIONALLY launching into an obviously dangerous storm. The victim was an experienced snow kiter perhaps on the water as well? As squalls go, this one wasn't that strong by the only wind record I have been able to find so far, spiking a gust to 40 mph, not knots as reported. This was from WindAlert, is there another better wind record for the area? That cloud might have pushed out gusts to 60, 80 even over 100 mph+. There have been microburst like that in Europe this year alone. What would have happened to all the other kiters if something like that had blown through? You can't tell in advance from the water how bad it will be. Some storms will leave the wind unchanged, some will kill it entirely or send it into high gusts and violent direction changes. Many storms may be manageable by some while others may not be. Dangerous weather in Europe "seems" be entering a new day with powerful storms becoming more common. There have been other kiters lost over the years from making a fatal choice for the very reasons you give, drove a long way, last day of vacation, other people are out, "don't give me advice about the weather ... "

You have seen so many storms in your time on the water as have many of us. You can easily survive something on a windsurfer which would just as easily kill you or leave you broken and paralyzed with a kite. Kiters of all skill levels have faced this question. I will never forget seeing a black funnel cloud in the video from Cerveteri, Italy in 2009 with a couple of dozen riders kiting around it. It picked three of them up, killing a kiting instructor against a building well inland, smashing another into the hood of a car and one rider was able to emergency depower his kite. The riders didn't read or perhaps care abuot the danger in what was approaching. This is wrong, kiters shouldn't be clueless about such things, the kiting community/media/instructors need to work to improve things. An experienced kiter was recently lofted to 100 ft. high by a waterspout in Brazil and then slammed to his death on the surface. We need to help build sufficient respect for hazardous weather among our fellow kiters, as in the past.

Image

As watermen, there is so much we need to judge with each session both before as well as throughout. It is what we do, judge what sized kite, how to launch, ride, avoid other vessels, rocks, wind changes, how to land, etc.. It is what we do. How can we help others to make better judgements if we don't help judge ourselves? I think it is wrong to not call this storm for what it is and the risk it poses and to make people aware of it in no uncertain terms. There might have been a few kiters out there, well experienced perhaps some clueless ones but no where near as many as were out there on the 19th. If people know and appreciate the risks and go out anyway, so be it. That is assuming they don't put rescuers at risk, harm others by being lofted or dragged into them or kill your kiting access with their actions.

Dangerous weather is just that and as The Russian put it, something coined on here in 2002 or so, "live to kite another day," or said another way "no one session is worth the rest of your life."

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Re: Casualty in Sicily

Postby jjbruck » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:17 pm

pmaggie wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:05 am
I think that sometimes the situation overwhelm the reason, making an otherwise clever man like a child. It's the classic adrenaline, you're urged, you're forced to kite, there's something in you're mind that pushes you to go out, it's like there's no tomorrow.
In climbing this is called "summit fever" and though widely recognized it continues to claim lives.

Maybe coming up with a catchy name for the kiting version of summit fever will help build awareness and self-prevention. Personally, I find that literally repeating "when in doubt don't go out" as a mantra in my head as I drive to the beach helps a bit.

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Re: Casualty in Sicily

Postby iriejohn » Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:56 pm

It's a male machismo thing, nobody wants to appear to be "chicken".

If I have someone to launch my kite at the upper end of its wind range I'll often ask them to hang on for a minute in case I decide not to go.

I kite in the UK Solent where squalls can suddenly develop and if I see one coming I get off the water PDQ because it might not be severe but you never know. He who turns away lives to fight another day.

As for those who go out regardless? They're rolling the dice, their lookout.

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Re: Casualty in Sicily

Postby Slappysan » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:03 pm

The thing about squalls is that the most dangerous place to be when they hit is near land so getting off the water when you see one approaching can be more dangerous than just going out to open water with nothing downwind.

It wasn't a squall but one time when I was out on my 10m and the winds picked up to 35-40 knots instead of trying to land I opted to sit in shallow water with nothing downwind of me for over 10 minutes until the wind dipped back down to 30 knots and I could safely land.

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Re: Casualty in Sicily

Postby JakeFarley » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:05 pm

So sad to hear about this. My deepest sympathy for his family and friends.

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Re: Casualty in Sicily

Postby matth » Sat Sep 22, 2018 2:19 am

Slappysan wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:03 pm
The thing about squalls is that the most dangerous place to be when they hit is near land so getting off the water when you see one approaching can be more dangerous than just going out to open water with nothing downwind.

It wasn't a squall but one time when I was out on my 10m and the winds picked up to 35-40 knots instead of trying to land I opted to sit in shallow water with nothing downwind of me for over 10 minutes until the wind dipped back down to 30 knots and I could safely land.

Exactly....or pucnh out and drift in.

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Re: Casualty in Sicily

Postby RickI » Sat Sep 22, 2018 2:38 am

It is important to note that squalls can be moving at 60 mph or a mile a minute. If you see one three miles away it can be on you in three minutes or the gust front might hit before it arrives. The best solution is to avoid them entirely by looking at weather radar, sat. imagery, hazard warnings and using your eyes. In Florida with tropical weather, experienced kiters may look for holes between the squalls, large ones that last a couple of hours or more. That is assuming squalls are drifting in and not forming in place. It doesn't pay to launch into them as this severe accident and many others underscore. We all get dumb at times, myself included, but there are somethings most of us just won't do and for good reason. Screwing around with squalls should be like that for kiters.

When you sit in the water waiting for a squall to blow over, how far are you from shore?


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