The body of a woman who fell from a hang glider on Saturday afternoon near Agassiz has been found.
Her body was found just as rescuers were calling off the search for the night. They had been searching for about seven hours, after receiving a call that a woman had fallen from a tandem flight near Mt. Woodside, just west of Agassiz.
The woman was taking part in a tandem ride, meaning she was riding with an experienced pilot. Experts in hang gliding said Saturday that they cannot recall an incident like this ever happening in the sport’s 25-year history in Canada.
Police received a call at about 12:15 p.m. on Saturday, and Kent Harrison Search and Rescue were called in to help find the woman. Chilliwack SAR also assisted with the search, but left at about 6:30 p.m., due to increasing rains and the loss of daylight.
The pilot’s shoe was found shortly after that, which led searchers to the woman’s body nearby. It isn’t clear yet what went wrong during the ride, which is considered to be a very safe outing by those who hang glide and paraglide.
Harrison Mills is a popular training ground for both hang gliders and paragliders, and beginners learn the ropes by taking tandem rides. While there are regular incidents of fliers getting caught in trees throughout the flying season, serious injuries are rare. Mt. Woodside is a heavily wooded area, and a helicopter was used to assist with the search.
The pilot who was operating the tandem hang glider has 10 years experience flying and operated a flying business in the area.
The coroner was on scene last night, and the incident is being investigated by RCMP and WorkSafe BC. Police have not yet released the woman’s name.