‘It wasn’t until I spun around and saw aluminium everywhere and being dragged back towards the propellers that I realised it was a boat,’ said kite surfer Pete Morgan.
He was fourth in December’s Lighthouse to Leighton Beach kite surfing race and was training with a friend on large kites and race boards when the launch hit him from behind in 11-knot winds and a 2m swell.
‘It’s hard to understand how we didn’t get seen and that’s what we want to know because if we weren’t conspicuous enough then we need to use something else that makes us more conspicuous,’ Mr Morgan said.
He said he was riding upwind at 30km/h for 1.5km on a constant course towards the shore, but when hit by the boat thought it was the impact of a jumping shark.
Luckily, his downed kite relaunched and dragged him from the boat, under which he had suffered concussion, bruises and a suspected foot fracture after his helmet saved his life from the initial impact.
The launch crew plucked Mr Morgan from the water and rushed him ashore to an ambulance they had requested.
‘All I want to know is what was going on at the (launch’s) helm so we can learn from it and prevent the accident happening again,’ he said.
However, Whitfords Volunteer Sea Rescue Group commander Roger Howell said the kite surfer ran into the side of the launch as its crew was travelling south after returning from a rescue at Two Rocks, but there would be an internal investigation.
‘Where the kite surfers usually hang out around Pinnaroo Point we are very, very careful,’ Mr Howell said.
‘We have our blue light flashing, we have our horn ready because they’re coming thick and fast from every direction, but 400m off the coast of Quinns you don’t expect us to find a kite surfer there.’
Department of Transport marine safety general manager Raymond Buchholz said the collision was being investigated.