More than three dozen injury accidents involving the use of kite tubes have been reported nationwide. Those injuries include a broken neck, punctured lung, chest and back injuries and facial injuries.
In Texas, four tube kiting accidents have been reported this year. Three users were injured and one died. In all of the reported accidents, the injuries occurred when users were violently slammed into the water.
The Sportsstuff Wego Kite Tube is a 10-foot-wide, circular, yellow inflatable watercraft designed to be towed behind a power boat. A rider in the tube becomes airborne by pulling on handles attached to the floor of the tube. Model 53-5000 is printed on the tube near the product valve. The floor of the tube has black caution warning stripes.
The cover for the product bears a skull and crossbones and the statement “Never Kite higher than you are willing to fall.” The tubes were imported and sold through marine distributors, mail order catalogs, and various retailers from approximately October 1, 2005, to July 11, 2006, for about $500 to $600.
“The kite tubes appear to be designed only for professionals,” said Game Warden Maj. Alfonso Campos, chief of marine safety enforcement at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “Even experienced water skiers and boaters have expressed how dangerous they can be, and they are definitely not for novice skiers or boaters.”
Campos urged boaters to comply with the Wego Kite Tube recall and to use extreme caution when using any similar products.
Consumers should immediately stop using the kite tubes and contact Sportsstuff at (866) 831-5524 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST Monday through Friday to learn how to obtain free replacement products.