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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A water ride added last month at Okuma Resort that was touted as taking extreme sports to a new level has been shut down after the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission deemed it unsafe. The Wego Kite Tube — a 10-foot-wide inflatable disc that flies off the water when pulled behind a boat — was voluntarily pulled from the shelves by Sportsstuff Inc. earlier this month.

In a release dated July 17 and released Wednesday, Okuma officials said they had discontinued the ride and that it had caused no injuries at the resort.

The safety commission has stated that two deaths and dozens of injuries, including a broken neck and a punctured lung, have resulted from riding the kite tube, which was sold from Oct. 1, 2005, to July 11.

Kite tubing, as the new activity is called, was a part of Okuma’s “New Adventures in Fun” campaign for the water activities program it trumpeted in a full-page ad in the 18th Services publication Venture.

“The program was offered to our patrons after our boat operators tested out the equipment in mid-May 2006, ensuring the product was safe enough for our customers,” Master Sgt. Marvis Neal, Okuma operations superintendent, stated in the news release.

Kadena Air Base spokesman Johnathan Monroe said Wednesday that officials from 18th Services, which oversees the resort, declined to comment further, including about when they learned of the recall.

Unknown at this time is whether Okuma will bring in another water activity to replace kite tubing.

The safety commission conducted a three-week investigation into the tubes, of which 19,000 had been sold, and determined the tube was too unpredictable to be controlled safely.


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