The kitesurfer was Adrian Monnoyeur, 28, from Toulouse.
"He was overwhelmed by the force of the wind while he was kitesurfing at sea" by a central beach in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, a resort town on France's southwest Atlantic coast, an official in the rescue services told AFP on Sunday.
"He crashed into a nine-storey building and then went over it," the official added. "Afterwards he was carried even higher and then lost force in the sail and crashed down."
Reports said the weather was wet and very windy on Sunday afternoon when the accident happened.
Local media cited witnesses saying the man, a student, was slammed against the wall of a hotel and then blown over the top of it, hitting another building from which he fell seven storeys with his kite sail stuck on its roof.
This unfortunate and tragic accident highlights the importance of assessing conditions carefully when planning a kitesurfing session.
Some factors that need to be carefully considered include:
- Checking weather forecasts carefully
- Don't go out if there is a storm or gale force wind warning
- Make sure you fly a small kite that is conservative for the conditions. There is no information on the kite size or wind strength, but if this kitesurfer was using a 12m kite (he was clearly overwhelmed by the wind strength) he may have been able to handle the conditions with a 7m kite
- If you are new to the sport, don't go out in wind speeds higher than 20 knots during your first year
- Practice using your safety releases, and jettison your kite sooner rather than later if conditions dictate
- Wear a helmet
- Kitesurfer dies in France, The Age
- Kitesurfer swept into buildings at Saint-Jean-de-Luz, news.com.au
- Kitesurfer dies after being hurled over building, abc.net.au
- Kite-surfer, 28, dies after gale drags him 100mph across beach and drops him from 50ft, Capitalbay News