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Gorge/Utah kiter accident

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Since 31 May 2005
72 Posts

PostThu Jun 23, 05 5:00 pm    Gorge/Utah kiter accident Reply with quote

Some of you may know Mitch Cummings.
Longtime Gorge "summer" resident.
Word tonight (6/23) is that he had a serious accident at Rush Lake in Utah.
No details, yet.
Only an "announcement" on

Keep Mitch in your prayers, and hope for the best.

-Marty Crying or Very sad

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Since 31 May 2005
72 Posts

PostThu Jun 23, 05 6:59 pm     Reply with quote

The worst happened Crying or Very sad


Account of Rush Accident
Spencer Regiudel

My deepest sympathy goes out to Mitch's family and friends and all his kiteboarding friends in the community. It really hurst me to post this news of what happened. I really didn't want to but Jake thought that it would be a good idea, to give the community some idea of what happened. Sorry if my words are a bit messed up, I a little shaken up right now, but I'll try to relate what I have seen. I hope that I don't offend anyone with

Jake Buzainas, Spencer (me), Nate (a friend I was training today) and Peter (a beginner kiteboarder), went out to Rush today around 1:30 or 2pm. The wind was light but picked up enough for Jake to ride his 15M on his wakesurf. Jake road 30-45 min session. Peter road his 13 or 15m, but not quite enough wind, he came in. I went out at about 2:45pm on a 13M and road for about 20-30 minute session fairly powered. A local police truck arrived about 3pm. Mitch arrived right behind them, by himself. I came in from riding about 5 minutes later. Mitch setup his kite, I had a talk with the Police, they said that they just came down to watch us ride for a bit. Jake was packing his kites up and was headed out. Before Jake left, he talked to me and apparently Mitch, about a microburst that may be hitting soon and to watch out. I have riden there along with Jake, Mitch and many of you during these microbursts, and during the bad ones I have always had to dump the kite before it really hits.
The Wind was relatively steady and I think that Mitch had his 13m slingshot i think which seemed about right for the wind. About 3:10 or so Mitch had his gear setup, he was really pumped to ride. I launch him. He went off riding having a good time. I then went, and set me friend Nate up, for a launch on my 12m. This was about 5-10 minutes later. I setup my friend Nate and the wind really started to pickup, he wasn't getting teabaged yet, but there was a lot of upward force. He road for only about 1 minute, and got teabagged in hops of 5-10 feet high, due to a lot more wind and lack of experience. I then looked behind me at the front that had been pushing in from the south. We had seen some lighting and the rain but, it was probably about 15 to 20 miles off. I then saw the dust start to pick up to the south. I knew that the microburst was going to hit in a few minutes, as I had seen this happen several times before. I told Nate to release his kite which he did. I went over and collected the kite in the water about 200 feet from shore. I had noticed Mitch still riding upwind of us and the main launch point, several times. He had his kite low, but seemed to be managing it well. The dust was starting to fly at this point. Mitch was maybe a couple hundred yards upwind (south) of me. I'm not sure if he ever saw the microburst coming. I start waving and yellin franticly and point behind him, to look, I'm not sure if he saw me. He was probably about 200 feet off shore, but he went for another pass to the east. I turned my attention back to my kite and my friend and was walking it into shore and back up to him. That's when the gusts really started to hit. Harder than I have ever felt there. I was running through the water and passed my kite off to Nate, I looked over my shoulder and new Mitch was in trouble. He was massively overpowered, nearer to the east side of rush about the same north south as the launch area. I saw his kite at 12 noon and thought that he was going to release at this point. He was lofted seconds later, probably 50-75 ft maybe more and flew about 200-300 ft. He was really picking up speed, but seemed in control, as he was flying the kite down. He had already lost his board. He hit the water moving at about 40 mph, i would guess. His kite was still straight up and I thought that he would release at this point. his hands were still on the bar. He got lofted a second time bigger the second time and faster. He flew it down again, but he was moving really fast. He hit and I think that he was knock out at that point, his head didn't come up. His kite went down low on the water and was pulling him very slow, I thought that I could make it too him, so i started to run swim through the water. I had only made it about 100 feet when his kite launch again and he was lofted several times to the north north east. I knew that the only chance was the Police on the shore, who I think were not sure if he was in trouble or not. I yelled and signalled at Peter who was on the shore and at the Police, Peter yelled and signalled them to head down wind. They took off immediately. Nate and I raced for shore where we dumped all the gear with Peter on the down wind of my truck for some protection He had to jump on it to hold it all down wind. The wind was blasting at this time. Nate and I hopped in Mitches Van and headed after the police down the lake frontage dirt road. When we arrive the police had cut his lines and had called in EMT's, Lifeflight, everything. The police had Nate and I fill out reports. I won't relate any specific details at this point, other that I know that he was not concious after that second major loft. The accident occured approx. 3:30pm give or take. About 5-10 minutes after we arrived at the accident site the first EMT arrived and started to work on Mitch. I helped where I could. Nate headed back to get Peter. Over the next 20 minutes about 7-10 emergency vehicles arrived and also Life flight (who were called off as they just arrived). They all worked on him for 1/2 hour or more. It really hurts to relate this, and I wish I would not have been there, or could have done something more to help him. Mitch passed away.

Mitch seemed to me to always have to most energy, the most stoke out there. He always made me laugh when I saw him flying out there just on the edge of control. Mitch was a great guy and helped me several times with my gear and suggestion with kiting. I was always impressed with him helping his friends and teaching them. Even though I only new him in the kite world, I along with many of us will miss him.


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Since 11 Jun 2005
333 Posts
NW Portland

PostFri Jun 24, 05 6:25 am     Reply with quote

Spencer and Marty, we are so very sorry for your loss and Mitch's passing. Although we didn't know him personally, the news moved us deeply. Let us know if a memorial fund is being set up and how people can help. Thank you for having the courage to relay this tragedy. Hopefully others can learn from this accident to make kiting safer for everyone. Our deepest condolences, Tonya & Dan

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Since 27 Feb 2005
6553 Posts
Couve / Hood
Site Lackey

PostFri Jun 24, 05 7:02 am     Reply with quote

Very sad... condolences to all. Sad

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Since 20 Jun 2005
3629 Posts
I need my fix because I'm a

PostFri Jun 24, 05 7:46 am     Reply with quote

My condolences.

Cleverly disguised as an adult...

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Since 24 Jun 2005
29 Posts

PostFri Jun 24, 05 1:05 pm     Reply with quote

Okinawa Japan last week. Belize the week before. Now Utah. 3 kite fatalaties in 3 weeks. We're not doing very well. It's easy to avoid thinking about this when it happens to an anonymous stranger. Try to imagine seeing one of your closest friends die in a kiteboarding accident. Imagine going to the funeral, meeting the parents, spouse, children, etc. We all need to prevent our friends from launching and landing in dangerous places, riding in bad weather, etc. If things get ugly, it's really not a big deal to pull your release WAY offshore and spend some time swimming in and untangling your lines afterward. Or, head downwind and dump your kite in a wind-sheltered cove somewhere and hike back. Have fun kiteboarding, but don't forget to be careful.

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PostFri Jun 24, 05 3:44 pm    sad news Reply with quote

Sorry to hear the bad news. Our thoughts go out to those of you who knew Mitch.

I am not sure that this would have made a difference in this situation, but as potentially dangerous as our sport is, we should all consider wearing helmets and practice firing our safety systems to assure they are working properly and realize it's not a big deal to use them.

As sad as it is to hear this news, hopefully the rest of us learn.


Since 31 May 2005
72 Posts

PostWed Jun 29, 05 11:17 am     Reply with quote


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