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Kite-surfer who hit building improving, mom says

  • Story Highlights
  • Winds carried kite-surfer into the air, slamming him into a beach and a building
  • Television crew caught Monday's incident in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on video
  • Kevin Kearney suffered spinal fractures, brain swelling, other injuries
  • Mother says Kearney can't recall incident
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From Cristy Lenz
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MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- The condition of a kite-surfer thrown airborne into a Fort Lauderdale building by strong winds this week has improved, his mother said Wednesday.

Wind lifted Kevin Kearney over a Fort Lauderdale beach before slamming him into a building Monday.

Wind lifted Kevin Kearney over a Fort Lauderdale beach before slamming him into a building Monday.

Broward General Medical Center upgraded Kevin Kearney's condition from critical to serious Wednesday morning, said his mother, Alicia Paradise-Garza.

Monday's incident, which a television crew captured on video as Tropical Storm Fay approached Florida, left the 28-year-old Kearney with spinal fractures, brain swelling, a broken rib and a broken ankle, among other injuries.

Kearney was harnessed to a kite, or sail, along a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, beach when strong wind caught the kite, sending him into the air, WFOR-TV reported. Video Watch wind lift Kearney into the air »

WFOR video shows Kearney rise into the air before slamming into the beach and being dragged for a brief time along the sand.

The kite then lifted into the air again, slamming him into a nearby building, WFOR reported.

Paradise-Garza said Wednesday her son is able to walk but has spent a lot of time sedated at the hospital so his injuries could be treated.

She said Kearney has no recollection of what happened, and that no one has yet shown him the footage of Monday's incident.

In a statement given to the news media the family said Kearney, a Fort Lauderdale resident, is an "experienced kite-boarder."


Kite-surfers stand on boards while winds catch their kites and move them across water. The video showed no board at Kearney's feet while he was airborne.

Kearney's friends said his harness had emergency releases, but that it is possible things happened too fast for him to unhook his clasps, WFOR reported.

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