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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 October, 2003, 15:11 GMT 16:11 UK
Freak wind killed kite surfer
A kite surfer
The extreme water sport is one of the fastest growing in the UK
A kite surfer died after he was dragged head first into a concrete wall by a freak gust of wind, an inquest has heard.

Alastair Porter, 38, from Iffley, Oxford, died on 21 August, five days after the accident at the Calshot Activity Centre in Fawley, Hampshire.

Southampton Coroner's Court heard the businessman, the father of an 11-month-old girl, struggled with his kite as he came out of the water.

A strong gust of wind dragged the Mr Porter, who had four year's experience, at high speed into a three-feet-high sea wall and then into the side of one of the activity centre buildings.

Always the first to help other kiters, he probably was that mystery person who once helped you
Arabella Porter, widow

Pathologist Professor Roy Weller told the inquest that Mr Porter, who was not wearing a helmet, died from fractures to his skull and neck as well as from bleeding to the brain.

Samantha Bailey, from Romsey, Hampshire, who was staying in a caravan at the site with her family, described how she saw Mr Porter being dragged by the kite.

In a statement read to the hearing, she said: "It was really shocking as I witnessed the man hit the wall head first at incredible speed.

"His body was not really touching the beach at the time of the collision."

'Fully experienced'

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Southampton coroner Keith Wiseman said all appropriate safety measures had been taken by the activity centre.

But he recommended managers review procedures to see if lessons could be learned from the accident.

He said: "Mr Porter was an extremely experienced kite surfer and I have no doubts he could cope with most, if not all, situations but there appeared to have been a sudden freak gust of wind for these few desperately significant moments."

Mr Porter's widow, Arrabella, said in a statement: "His remarkable enthusiasm, generosity and warmth of spirit will long be remembered by all those he befriended over the years.

"Always the first to help other kiters, he probably was that mystery person who once helped you just when things got gnarly."

Speaking after the hearing, Paul Jobin, chairman of the British Kite Surfing Association, said Mr Porter's death was the first fatal accident in the UK involving the extreme water sport.

He said: "Mr Porter was fully experienced and he was fully aware of the risks. It was his decision not to wear a safety helmet.

"A lot of people are aware of the risks and more are aware now after this tragedy."



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30 Apr 03  |  Hampshire/Dorset
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06 Sep 02  |  Wales

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