Article below. Hope the guy recovers and that this alerts people about the hazards of launching and landing in gusty conditions directly upwind of rocks or other hazards.
Freak kiteboarding accident seriously injures Marblehead man
By Debra Glidden / The Daily Item
NAHANT - A kiteboarder suffered severe injuries Saturday in what police describe as a freak accident.
Donald Burnett of Marblehead remains in Boston Medical Center after an incident at 2:14 p.m.
Police Lt. Thomas Hutton said police received several 911 calls reporting a seriously injured kiteboarder in the vicinity of Black Rock Beach.
Hutton, who was one of the first responders, said the 49-year-old male victim was blown off the beach and across Nahant Road when the wind caught his kite.
" ... The victim was unconscious, but breathing when medical personnel arrived," Hutton said. "He was dragged about 100 feet."
His wife, Christine Burnett, said doctors operated on her husband Monday. "It was a horrific accident," she said. "He has breaks in his neck and a lot of broken bones. He was in traction and weights to try to stabilize the breaks and to realign his spine. He has feeling in his fingers and toes, and that's important going into this surgery."
Blake Kelsey, who is a kite surfer from Beverly, saw the accident and rushed to assist Burnett.
"We tried to apply pressure to the head wound where it was bleeding really bad," Kelsey said. "We just tried to slow the bleeding down and not move him at all."
Another witness, who resides in Beverly and asked not to be identified, said everyone was stunned as they watched the incident unfold.
"It was a horrific thing to see," she said. "He was dragged off the beach, across the rocks and across the street ... "
Several witnesses reported the victim was standing at the edge of the water when a gust of wind grabbed his kite, Hutton said.
"He was dragged across a section of beach and slammed into the rocks," Hutton said. "He went across the street and into a fence. The fence is the only thing that saved him from going into the ocean. He appeared to have severe head injuries and numerous broken bones."
Hutton said the man was transported to Salem Hospital, where he was stabilized then airlifted to Boston Medical Center.
Kelsey said it appeared to be a freak accident or equipment malfunction.
"He has a distinctive kite and I've seen his kite out on the water before," Kelsey said. "It's obvious he was an accomplished kitesurfer. He certainly wasn't a beginner."
Fire Chief Ed Hyde said Firefighter Frank Pappalardo, Firefighter John J. Tibbo and Call Firefighter Keith Olbash were some of the first responders on the scene.
"Everyone involved did a good job," Hyde said.