This is some really sad news…
A Florida man who survived cancer tragically died this week in a freak accident after a strong gust of wind pulled him right out of the water — and to his death.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, the experienced kite surfer — later identified as Fred Salter — had brushed off his friends’ repeated warnings about going out into the water during a stint of bad weather on Wednesday morning. And he really should have heeded their advice, as a weather advisory was issued in Broward County just minutes before the incident. The 61-year-old reportedly had not even reached the ocean yet when he was suddenly pulled right out of the water and carried 400 feet before finally being violently thrown into the second story of a home in Fort Lauderdale.
An eyewitness told 911, per local news network WSVN:
“He was windsurfing on the beach, and the wind picked up and threw him against the building, and he went down. He’s unconscious on the floor. He’s bleeding.”
Surveillance footage obtained by the outlet also showed Salter attempting to gain control of the kite. However, the wind was too strong and dragged him along the sand before he went flying. Fort Lauderdale Fire Chief Stephen Gollan explained:
“He was attempting to kitesurf in the ocean behind the address here, actually, just two doors down, when strong winds came into the area unexpectedly, and he was not able to release from the kite in a timely manner. So we went from relatively calm conditions to extremely dangerous conditions in a short period of time.”
In emergencies, surfers can actually activate a safety release system in order to disconnect from the kite or simply let go of the bar. It is unclear if Salter attempted to do so, but he had reportedly been wearing a harness that was securely hooked to the apparatus.
Experienced riders were baffled as to why he may have never tried one of the fail-safe options, with Graham Goodwin, the owner of Fort Lauderdale Kitesurfing, telling the Sun-Sentinel:
“Letting go of the bar solves 90 percent of problems.”
Speaking to People, Gollan claimed these types of accidents are not common, and the last kiteboarding incident happened a decade ago. Unfortunately, Salter passed away three hours after being rushed to a local hospital in critical condition.
Following his death, a GoFundMe page was created to help the family with funeral expenses. The fundraiser revealed he was a father of four and a grandfather to two grandchildren:
“Fred Salter, tragically passed away yesterday doing what he loved most. After beating cancer, Fred never took life for granted and lived each moment to its fullest. … If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting Fred, you would know how kind and loving he was. He valued his family and enormous group of friends more than anything. Fred was the center of his children’s universe and now they are left with the unknown.”
To think that the tragedy may have been avoided if he only listened to his friends beforehand. We are keeping his family members and loved ones in our thoughts during this difficult time. Reactions? Let us know in the comments (below).
[Image via GoFundMe]
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