Kite tubes are inflatable devices that become airborne when pulled behind a boat at speeds above 25 mph. Riders stand on fabric flooring and hold grips on the tubes. A National Park Service release warned that the tubes "may rise uncontrollably" up to 25 feet, then dive toward the water. Ejected riders can hit the water at speeds approaching 50 mph.
On The Early Show Thursday, Julie Vallese of the CPSCV told co-anchor Hannah Storm the CPSC's main concern about this product is the threat of the unknown: Users can't predict whether a wind gust will throw them off or slam them into the water; users can't predict if the boat operator will suddenly speed up or stop short.
"It's really the unknown with this product, how it's going to react, how high it will go, whether it will spin out of control when it's in the air," she said. "And one thing that does happen and has injured people is unexpected nose dives into the water. And that's really one of the serious parts with this product, because people think they're going to fall into the water and it will just be a splash, but when it's at a high speed and you're high up in the air and you hit the water, it actually really ends up being a very hard surface."
Vallese added that injuries include broken backs, a broken neck, punctured lungs, internal bleeding, and head injuries.