RALEIGH, N.C. (July 10) - Following numerous reports of injuries, the enforcement division of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is warning the new, extreme water sport of kite tubing is potentially hazardous.
Kite tubes, also known as flying tubes and tube kites, are inflatable devices sometimes resembling large inner tubes that are towed behind a boat and, at speed, become airborne.
The warning comes on the heels of the inflatable devices being banned on several waterways across the nation. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it has banned kite tubing on its lakes in Arkansas and Missouri; the National Park Service has outlawed it at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which includes Lake Powell, where four serious injuries have been reported.
Kite tubing has caused at least two deaths on lakes in Texas and Wisconsin.
On North Carolina lakes in recent weeks, the Wildlife Resources Commission reports a woman was knocked unconscious in a kite tubing accident at Lake Gaston, when she was slammed to the surface after the kite tube turned sideways. She was pulled from the water by companions and taken to a local hospital, where she was later released. On Falls Lake, a man broke his femur after falling 20 feet from a kite tube, while another man broke his ankle in a separate incident. At Lake Norman, a man suffered a fractured spine in a kite tubing mishap.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued an advisory about the potential dangers of kite tubing and is investigating to determine whether they're too hazardous for consumer use. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission cited serious injuries associated with kite tubing, including a broken neck, punctured lung, broken ribs, broken femur, chest and back injuries, and facial injuries, such as jaw fractures.