In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Sportsstuff, Inc., of Omaha, Nebraska, has voluntarily recalled about 19,000 Wego Kite Tubes recently.
Several deaths and more than three-dozen injuries involving the use of kite tubes have been reported nationwide. Those injuries include a broken neck, punctured lung, chest and back injuries and facial injuries.
Although no kite tubing accidents have been reported in Louisiana this year, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents have seen them in use on Louisiana waterways and are cautioning users of the dangers associated with their use.
The Sportsstuff Wego Kite Tube is a 10-foot-wide, circular, yellow inflatable watercraft designed to be towed behind a motorboat. A rider in the tube becomes airborne by pulling on handles attached to the floor of the tube. Model 53-5000 is printed on the tube near the product valve. The floor of the tube has black caution warning stripes.
The cover for the product bears a skull and crossbones and the statement "Never Kite higher than you are willing to fall." The tubes were imported and sold through marine distributors, mail order catalogs, and various retailers from approximately Oct. 1, 2005, to July 11, 2006, for about $500 to $600.
"The kite tubes appear to be designed only for professionals," said Lt. Col. Brian Spillman, LDWF's boating law administrator. "Even experienced water skiers and boaters have expressed how dangerous they can be, and they are definitely not for novice skiers or boaters."
Spillman urged boaters to comply with the Wego Kite Tube recall and to use extreme caution when using any similar products.
Consumers should immediately stop using the kite tubes and contact Sportsstuff at 866-831-5524 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST Monday through Friday to learn how to obtain free replacement products.
For more information, contact Brian Spillman at 225-765-2981 or firstname.lastname@example.org.