Warning: Bali Kites Can Kill

Bali’s annual kite season is now in full swing. Large skite, buffeted by strong offshore winds, bespeckle the Island’s skies. Some of theses kites are so large that they require large groups of young men from local Banjars to become airborne. Once aloft, the kites are sometimes allowed to fly for days on end, tethered to the earth by large stakes driven into the soil by the “kite team” who nonchalantly return home, leaving the fate of their kite creations in the hands of the wind and gods.

Bali kites have been termed, depending on the observer’s perspective, works of art, a thrilling sport, or a public nuisance. And while no one can deny their beauty and craftsmanship, the Balinese obsession with kite flying is a proven threat to aviation; cause major electrical blackouts when they become entangled with high-voltage power lines; damage roofs and buildings; and capable of causing death and injury when passing motorcyclists encounter their less-than-visible lines.

The State News Agency Antara and Beritabali.com report that a motorcyclist, I Wayan Losmen (61), lost his life on Thursday, 18 June 2020, when the line of a fallen kite cut across the man’s neck as he was traveling in a southern direction at 2:30 pm on Jalan Raya Sesetan in Denpasar. Losmen was reportedly traveling at an average speed down the busy road when he became entangled in the kite wire, lost control of his motorcycle, and struck a passing garbage truck driven by Putu Agus Widiartawan (24).

The man who lived on nearby Serangan Island suffered massive injuries in the incident and died before arriving at the nearby Sanglah General Hospital.

Police from the Denpasar Police Precinct continue to investigate the incident while urging people flying kites in Bali to act responsibly.

Demonstrating that kite flying represents a danger to motorcyclists is a another, separate report from RadarBali.com about a 37-year-old teacher Nyoman Arnanda and an 18-year-old man Amin Raid, both from Seririt, North Bali.

In separate incidents, both men suffered severe wounds when they drove into a kite wire stretched across the road near a junior high school on Jalan Diponegoro in Seririt. 

The District Chief (Camat) in Seririt counts at least five recent accidents linked to kit strings while calling on the police to find the guilty kite flyers to answer for their potentially fatal recklessness.

Meanwhile, police are taking steps to socialize the dangers posed by irresponsible kite flying to the general public and local schools.