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Fighting Kite Fights: Boy's Family Sues NYC

By Minara El-Rahman on November 17, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Jared Kopeloff of Flushing, Queens was just minding his business while skateboarding when he was slashed in the throat by a stray kite wire that was encrusted with glass shards.

The kite wire is used in a sport made popular by the book The Kite Runner. It is a South Asian sport that is particularly popular in the Afghani community in Flushing and is commonly played in Flushing Meadow Park. It uses strings encrusted with shards of glass in order to cut opponents' kites in what is known as "kite fighting." The fighting kite that gets cut falls from the sky until there is only one fighting kite left. That kite flier is declared the winner of the kite fight.

The wire in question was hanging between two buildings in the cooperative where the 12 year old boy lived. According to the Gothamist, the boy was slashed in the neck from ear to ear and had to receive 400 to 500 stitches in order to close the wound. He also lost two of his lymph nodes from the accident. Jared Kopeloff was quoted by The Gothamist as saying that he "heard a noise like bees... I thought I went into a beehive."

His family has now brought forth a lawsuit against the City of New York as well as the coop where the boy and his family live. The NY Post reports that the city should have been aware that there has been a resurgence of the sport and that it was being played in Flushing Meadow Park. The family's lawyer said: "The city should have known these kite festivals are happening in Queens parks -- and should have known the danger that the glass-encrusted string poses."

The lawsuit has been filed in Queens Supreme Court for an unspecified amount in damages. The city's response to the accident has been somber, but there has been no further commentary about the lawsuit itself. A spokeswoman for the city's legal department told the NY Post, "This was a tragic accident. We have received the lawsuit and are unable to comment further because of the pending litigation."

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