Hang gliding cause of death to be held back

The investigation into a hang gliding death that occurred near Agassiz in April is almost complete but the results might take another year.

  • Aug. 3, 2012 8:00 a.m.

by Adrian MacNair

The investigation into a hang gliding death that occurred near Agassiz in April is almost complete but the results might not be made public for another year.

Bruce Busby, vice president of the Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association of Canada [HGPAC] in Calgary, said the information will likely be held pending the outcome of a criminal trial for pilot Jon Orders.

“I don’t know if it’s the police or the courts but we’ve just been asked to wait,” he said.

Lenami Godinez-Avila, 27, died when she fell from the glider shortly after taking off on a tandem flight with Orders from Mount Woodside. He was later charged with obstruction of justice for swallowing a memory card containing pictures of the flight that might offer clues as to how she fell to her death.

Busby stressed nobody from the HGPAC has seen any results from the investigation yet.

“I can only suspect they don’t want to prejudice the case for Jon Orders.”

Margit Nance, executive director of HGPAC in Vancouver, said even if the board received the report it wouldn’t be made public.

“We would not just willy nilly release that. That would have to be determined whether that’s appropriate,” she said.

Nance said when the board receives the report the first person notified would likely be the lawyer for the pilot.

“We would be very careful and in fact we might very well hold the whole thing off until after the trial date as well, because for the same reason nobody wants inadvertently to affect in any way the proper carrying out of justice.”

Nance said that the HGPAC has an accident reporting system in place to learn from such incidents, though this circumstance is different because of the criminal charge.

“Every accident is definitely a learning opportunity for everyone and we take that very seriously,” she said.

The investigator in the accident is Martin Henry, a former president of the HGPAC, who has been working independently of the association in conjunction with the RCMP and the Coroner’s Office.

Henry is considered one of the pioneers of the sport. Over the past 40 years he  has developed many of the safety protocols and aviation techniques used in the sport today.

“He has flown huge distances and yet he’s one of those finicky, particular pilots that always stays committed to safety,” said Nance, adding he really stresses the importance of the pre-flight check.

Although Busby said he knows people are curious to learn whether it was pilot error or equipment malfunction that was responsible for Godinez-Avila’s death, they’ll have to wait just a bit longer.

The trial for Orders is expected to get underway April 15, 2013.

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: Harrison sailor looking for competitors to race model boats

Bernhard Van Velze is hoping to create a club for model sailboats at Harrison Lake

Community artists, amateurs wanted to create Kent anniversary logo

The 125th anniversary committee is hoping to choose a logo designed by the community

Kent to weigh in on ride-sharing policies

The district will be submitting comments to the province on what ride sharing should look like

Chilliwack prolific offender wanted yet again

B.C.-wide warrant issued for David Allen Geoghegan

One man, two women charged with stolen pickup downtown Chilliwack

None of the three have criminal history in B.C.

Keep focus on helping Canadians at home, Trudeau tells MPs at start of meeting

Trudeau said the Liberals will offer Canadians hope amid issue like climate change and global tensions

Pettersson returns to lead Canucks to 3-2 win over Red Wings

Vancouver’s super rookie has 2 points in first game back after knee injury

Crash closes Coquihalla southbound lane south of Merritt

Accident occurred approximately 26 kilometres south of Merritt

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

12 poisoned eagles found on Vancouver Island

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

Olympic softball qualifier to be held in B.C.

Tournament is to be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 1

B.C. resident creates global sport training program

The 20 hour course teaches the science and application of interval training at the university level

B.C. VIEWS: Fact-checking the NDP’s speculation tax on empty homes

Negative-option billing is still legal for governments

Most Read