Towable water toy manufacturer issues recall

OMAHA, Neb. - In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Sportsstuff, Inc., of Omaha, Neb., is voluntarily recalling about 19,000 Wego Kite Tubes, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary reported in a press release yesterday.

The CPSC has received reports of 39 injury incidents from the water toys, which are a 10-foot-wide, circular, yellow inflatable watercraft designed to be towed behind a powerboat. Twenty-nine of those injuries reportedly resulted in the need for medical treatment and included a broken neck, a punctured lung and chest, back and facial injuries.

Sportsstuff has received reports of two deaths in the U. S., but the company has been unable to determine the cause of the incidents, according to the release.

A rider becomes airborne by pulling on handles attached to the floor of the tube. Model 53-5000 is printed on the tube near the product valve. The floor of the tube has black caution warning stripes. The cover for the product bears a skull and crossbones and the statement “Never Kite higher than you are willing to fall.”

The tubes were imported and sold through marine distributors, mail order catalogs, and various retailers from approximately Oct. 1, 2005 to July 11, 2006 for about $500 to $600.

Consumers are advised to immediately stop using the kite tubes, and contact Sportsstuff at (866) 831-5524 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST Monday through Friday, to learn how to obtain free replacement products. Consumers can also visit the firm's Web site at www.sportsstuff.com for more information.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary reminds boaters to always use caution when playing with water toys. Precautions include making sure all riders/skiers/wake-boarders wear a life jacket, and that an observer keeps an eye on the occupants of the water toy at all times.

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