Third KAP Accident (at Totnes, Devon)

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On the 27th February 2005 I was flying my Ixus 500 rig in Totnes, trying to photograph the Bungalow Garden which had just been cleared. The wind was light at first, but after half and hour (and some 70 images) it suddenly became much stronger. I tied the kite line to a fence and started walking the kite down. By now the line was really taut and whistling. As I walked the pulley along the line it suddenly gave way. The kite wafted away over the houses towards the hill that rises just south-west of Totnes. The rig fell rapidly to the ground just behind some houses - I heard a crashing sound.

It took me a few minutes to gather up all my gear, retrieve the line and go round to where I thought the rig must have landed. Dreading that I'd find a car with smashed windscreen or a little old lady with a camera embedded in her head, I found the street almost deserted.

There was one person there, loading a skip with rubbish while his young kids helped. I asked him if he'd heard the noise and explained that my rig must have fallen nearby. He went into his house and came out with the remains which he said he'd retrieved from a hedge, but no camera.

Despite extensive searching I've not seen any sign of the camera. It's possible the rig bounced off a house roof and the camera is still up there. Or that it fell into the hedge where the rig apparently fell and was taken by someone. Given the damage to the rig, it's hard to believe that camera wouldn't have been damaged too but the CF card would have been OK.

Close inspection of the line revealed that it gave way where one of the hangups was attached. It was 250lb Dacron, but there was some wear on the line caused by the way I'd wrapped it round the hangup (and a sharpish edge on the hangup I'd not noticed before).

So on to rig 3, which will hold the Pentax Option S5i I bought as a replacement for the Ixus - the rig will use a GentLED and mini servos, so it should be lighter.

The kite ended up around a mile from where I'd been standing, but was retrieved without damage. And of course, I've bought new line!

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