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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 October, 2003, 14:41 GMT 15:41 UK
Woman hurt by surf kite
Kite surfer
Kite surfing has grown in popularity in recent years
A woman has been taken to hospital after being knocked over in a surf kiting accident.

The incident happened at about 1240 BST on Sunday as hundreds of people were watched the British Cup Surfing Championship at Tynemouth Long Sands.

The woman, who is in her mid-60s, was knocked over when the kite harness broke free from the surfer, who was not part of the competition.

She was taken by ambulance to North Tyneside General Hospital.

A spokesman for the coastguard said the woman, from Seaton Delaval, was walking with her husband when she became caught up in the line.

High speeds

She fell backwards, banging her head and suffered signs of concussion and possible spinal injuries.

He told BBC News Online: "From what I understand, the kite-surfer lost control, he got blown towards the beach and unfortunately the woman was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Kite surfing has grown in popularity over the last few.

A massive kite is used instead of a windsurfing sail to generate the power needed to surf and jump over the waves.

Surfers can reach speeds in excess of 30mph.

Public safety

The kite is attached to the surfer by a harness at the end of a 30-metre line and is controlled by a bar similar to a water-ski handle.

There have been increasing calls to have strict safety controls imposed on the sport after a number of recent accidents.

Paul Jobin, chairman of the British Kite Surfing Association, told BBC News Online he did not know whether the surfer involved was a member of the organisation.

Mr Jobin said: "We are very concerned about public safety.

"We ask all our members to read our safety code of conduct and ask them to sign a disclaimer when they join to say that they have done that.

"We also request that people do not go kite surfing where there are lots of people standing around."



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