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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 April, 2004, 14:41 GMT 15:41 UK
Surfer hurt in freak kite crash
Kite surfer
Kite surfing is one of the most dangerous water sports
A teenager is critically ill in hospital after a freak gust of wind blew him into a wall as he practised kite surfing.

Ross Milton, 17, was caught by an 80mph wind and blown out of the water in Aberavon, south Wales.

He was catapulted over a fish and chip shop before hitting two walls.

Ross, of Oldham, Greater Manchester, suffered head injuries and was taken to Morriston Hospital, Swansea.

Kite surfing is similar to windsurfing but uses kites instead of sails. Its official UK website declares it as "the most extreme of water sports".

Ross had spent the day taking part in the British Kite Surfing Championships.

Mr Milton's family, of Diggle, near Oldham, were watching him practise when he was blown 80ft up in the air by the freak wind at about 1800 BST on Saturday.

Map showing Aberavon, south Wales

Inspector Wynne Rowlands, of South Wales Police, said: "A freak gust of wind picked him up and carried him over Franco's Fish Bar on the seafront.

"Then he collided with a wall before being whisked into the air by another gust which carried him into a second wall."

Ross's grandfather, the Rev Harold Lindley, a retired vicar, said: "What has happened is a very unhappy incident for the family.

"Ross has been kite surfing for some time. He had got quite skilled at it."

Paul Jobin, chairman of the British Kite Surfing Association (BKSA), said: "We are all in shock. After the competition finished, Ross and his father went up the coast to Aberavon.

"He took out a new kite and it was caught by a squall.

"Kite surfing is an extreme sport, but we have a very good safety record."

He added the BKSA is assisting the authorities in the investigation in to the incident.

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