A kite surfer died after rapid winds threw him into a building Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale, fire officials said.
Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Stephen Gollan said the department got a call around 10 a.m. about the incident, which took place near Northeast 27th Street and North Ocean Boulevard.
Gollan said the man launched into the air from the beach and was thrown into the building by the winds before falling to the ground.
Officials have not released the man’s identity at this time, but friends identified the victim as Fred Salter, an experienced and passionate kite surfer.
“He was very experienced kiter and he knew what he was doing," Haley Lavallee, who knew the victim said. "I’m just so sad.”
The man suffered substantial injuries, according to Gallon, and was rushed as a trauma alert to Broward Health Medical Center.
Fire officials later confirmed that he died.
"This was his favorite thing. He was out here every time it got windy, he was here. This was his passion," a friend named Heather said.
A man who lives in the area and helped said Salter managed to release one of two safety locks that would have cut him loose from the kite.
“I stayed with him for about 10 minutes until rescue came," Gus Remppies, who helped Salter said.
“It was almost like a microburst," Remppies said. "I saw a lot of sand flying down the parking lot. That’s where I saw the kite dangling off the building.”