SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A kite surfer at a San Francisco beach was caught in a huge gust of wind and dragged across a parking lot on to a highway, where he was hit by a car and critically injured, police said.
The man was setting up his rig at the edge of the water on Friday afternoon at Ocean Beach when the wind caught him and took him onto the Great Highway, city police said in a statement.
Winds of about 35 mph with gusts approach 50 mph were blowing on the beach at the time.
Steve Sutherland, 54, was visiting from Minnesota and said he was watching when the huge gust came.
"He was down by the water getting his stuff ready with his girlfriend, but there was just too much wind," Sutherland told the San Francisco Chronicle. "It picked him up and took him toward the road. He bounced a couple times, and then I lost sight of him. But whatever happened after that it wasn't good."
The man was taken to San Francisco General Hospital with critical injuries, police said.
Police did not release the name of the injured man or give any details about the person or car that hit him, saying only that the person stopped and did not leave the scene.
Kite surfers use large, parachute-like kites that capture the wind like a sail and pull them on surfing-style boards.
Cort Larned, co-owner of 101 Surf Sports in San Rafael, California, said accidents in the sport are rare but usually happen in the same circumstances, with heavy winds at the water's edge. "All the accidents happen almost invariably while getting into the water or getting out of it," Larned told the Chronicle.