Re: Windsurfer Death at 3rd

Date: Mon Oct 04 1993 - 10:16:03 PDT

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To: Ken Poulton <>
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Subject: Re: Windsurfer Death at 3rd 
In-Reply-To: Your message of "Sat, 02 Oct 93 00:25:38 PDT." <> 
Date: Mon, 04 Oct 93 10:16:03 -0700

> I haven't heard for sure, but I assume he is dead. A windsurfer who is
> a doctor arrived about 10 minutes before the chopper and said from lack
> of pulse, time in water, and the fixed and dilated pupils that it was
> pretty much hopeless. The 3 guys doing CPR kept it up, though.
> He had been seen sailing 15 minutes before he was found, but no one
> could time it any closer than that. No rig in sight says to me that
> he was probably already in the water for a few minutes at least.

His name was Kirby and he did not make it. More than likely it was his heart.
The doctors said he did have a bump on his head, but that it wasn't big
enough to knock him out. He probably hit his head on the board or rig when
he was falling down. What's unknown is if the heart condition killed him
or he drowned while struggling because of his heart.

> The sailor was someone Jerome knew by sight as 3rd regular, but a good
> friend of the sailor was also there and said he was 32 and had a heart
> condition. I did not get a name. Scott went looking for the rig on the
> south side of the SM bridge and saw a Tiga board and a mast in a truck
> driving the other way but could not catch up to it.

The bastard knew I was trying to catch up with him to as when the light turned
green, he screeched his tires and blew out of there, but the time I got turned
around he was long gone. It was not a windsurfer either. He was in a little
brown car (like a rabbit) with a sunroof and the board was stricking out
through the sun roof.

If you see a Tiga board and Windwing sail for sale by a non-windsurfer,
it's more than likely him...

> The main thing that might have helped the sailor would have been a
> quicker discovery by other sailors, but there is certainly no blame to
> assign here - it's pretty hard to see a person in the water even with
> his head up. With the head down, you almost have to run him down to
> see him.

He was also right in the "out-bound traffic path" from the launch. I launched
at 4:10 and went straight out to find the mess. So it can be real hard to
see someone in the water....

> The thing that might have speeded the professional response would
> have been a boat launchable from the sailing site (like a Zodiac).
> The Fire Department was there on the shore about 15 minutes before the
> helicopter showed, but they apparently had no way to get out to us.
> Because of the shallow water (about 5 feet at the time) a cutter
> could not have come in to us, and even the helicopter had to come
> down extra low (maybe 15 feet) to drop the diver safely.

The ambulance was on shore within 5 minutes (by 4:15). The really aweful
thing was the coast guard was notified and stated they were sending someone
out immediately at 4:15 also. They air lifted him out at 5:00. It wasn't
that they couldn't find us either, we saw them start the search and it only
took < 5m minutes after the search started to when they spotted us. Pretty
slow given that they either launched from Coyote or San Fran....

A real discouraging sight was that there were about 15-20 sailors who kept
sailing within 100 yards of this event. It was quite obvious something
was wrong given that a man was on his back on the board with someone on top
of him pushing down on his chest. These 15-20 sailors never even stopped
to say "Can I help in any way?". Afet about the first 15 minutes, more
bodies wouldn't have helped, they could've held rigs, but each person
stopping to hold rigs, that added another rig. It just irks me that they
didn't even stop to ask........ I guess what goes around, comes around.

Couple bits of advice, if you ever have to hang onto 9 boards/rigs,
pray you have a life vest on, and take your tow rope and lash them
together. DON'T lash them in a straight line, bunch them together in
a circle (a straight line and the current will take you too fast).
Don't swim too hard...

The flares are a really good idea to carry (West Marine has them on sale for
9.99 right now). However, the little hand held ones aren't much use in wind.
They only went about 100ft in the air (package says 800ft) and didn't make a
very large flare, however, the Coast Guard did see the 3rd flare that went up.
The water smoke also helps out quite a bit when the coast guard is searching.
I did check on a better flare, the kind you send off with a gun, however, they
use 12 guage shotgun shells and I can just see getting wiped out during
a jump, falling on your back on the board/boom and setting off a shell.....

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