The U.S. Corps of Engineers announced that it is a banning kite tubing, a new extreme water sport, on its lakes in Arkansas and Missouri.
Kite tubing has caused at least two deaths on lakes in Texas and Wisconsin, the Corps said.
A kite tube is an inflatable platform towed by a boat. As speed increases, the entire tube is lifted into the air like a kite with the rider on top. The tubes often overturn or throw the rider, according to the Corps.
“This product is described by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission as ‘extremely dangerous’ and has already caused two deaths and numerous injuries,” Col. Wally Walters said. “Until this product can be better designed for control and stability, and until proper training can be established, it is my judgment that the hazards and potential liabilities of allowing kite tubing on public waters outweigh the benefits of unrestricted use.”
The Corps’ Tulsa, Okla., district banned kite tubing last week.
The National Park Service has said that injuries caused by kite tubing include internal trauma.
“Victims have reported coughing up blood, torn muscles, whiplash type injuries, broken ribs, punctured lungs and cervical fractures,” according to a safety alert from the park service.
P.J. Spaul, a spokesman for the Corps in Little Rock, said that kite tubes are becoming more popular – and that the inflatable platforms can be costly.
“These kite tubes are expensive – $600 or $700,” Spaul said. “We hope to keep people from going out and spending money on them before we tell them they’re not allowed.”
Lakes in Arkansas and Missouri where the ban is now in effect include Beaver, Table Rock, Bull Shoals, Norfork, Clearwater, Greers Ferry, Nimrod, Blue Mountain, Millwood, Dierks, De Queen and Gillham, as well as the Arkansas River in Arkansas.
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