June 2006

AZBW News Breaks June 6, 2006

Two Injured in "Kite Tubing" Accidents Over Weekend

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
691 Scenic View Dr.
PO Box 1507
Page, AZ 86040-1507

CONTACT: Kevin Schneider
National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior

Page, Ariz. – Two people were injured in separate, unrelated "Kite Tubing" accidents this past weekend at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

In both cases, the victims were riding Kite Tubes towed by boats when they lost control of the device. The victims fell into the waters of Lake Powell from heights between 10 and 40 feet.

The first incident occurred on Friday, June 2 at approximately 2:30 pm near the Bullfrog area. The victim, a 29 year-old male from St. George, Utah, was riding a Kite Tube when he lost control and fell from a height of 35-40 feet, while moving at approximately 35-40 mph.

He suffered a broken neck and was flown by helicopter from the Bullfrog Medical Clinic to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado. He was the third person in his party that day to be injured while Kite Tubing. The other two individuals reported they had minor injuries and were not treated.

On Saturday afternoon, June 3, a 14-year old girl from Houston, Texas, fell 10-15 feet from her Kite Tube while being towed at 20-25 mph. She lost consciousness when she struck the water.

Park rangers immediately responded to the incident and she was flown by helicopter from Iceberg Canyon to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado. After further examination at the hospital, she was released without serious injuries.

These were the third and fourth accidents this year at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area involving Kite Tubes. The first accident occurred on April 7 and resulted in a punctured lung caused by broken ribs.

On May 22, a second person had injuries to their chest and back while using a Kite Tube. Both of these incidents involved Kite Tube riders losing control of the device and falling into the water while moving at a high rate of speed.

The individuals involved in these accidents were also transported by helicopter to the hospital.

Kite Tubes are large, round inflated tubes towed by a boat at 20-40 mph. The user holds onto the Kite Tube as it rises into the air, 15-60 feet from the surface of the water.

Controlling a Kite Tube is extremely challenging, and the slightest upset in its balance causes the Kite Tube to fall into the water. As a newcomer to the market, this is the first season park rangers at Glen Canyon have observed their use.