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

UPDATE: Man in mid-20s killed in targeted shooting in Abbotsford

Location of shooting the same as where innocent bystander Ping Shun Ao killed in 2015

Harrison continues push for local doctor

Mayor has requested Fraser Health provide primary care services

New surcharge for Harrison boaters

Small boat launch surcharge to fund KHSAR

POLL: How should Harrison deal with goose poop?

Monday’s council meeting raised questions about the best way to handle waste around the beach

Sts’ailes First Nation to vote on land code

Land Code would remove nation from 34 sections of Indian Act

Week in Review – January 19

Movie filming, water upgrades and more

World’s fastest log car made in B.C. sells for $350,000 US

Cedar Rocket auctioned off three times at Barrett-Jackson Co., netting $350,000 US for veterans

Bad timing: Shutdown spoils Trump’s one-year festivities

Trump spends day trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

RCMP nail sex toy thief

Shop owner plays a role in arrest

Ice-cream-eating bear draws controversy

An Alberta Wildlife Park posted a video this week of one of their bears going through a Dairy Queen drive-through

Police arrest pair after ‘high-risk vehicle takedown’

Vancouver police say replica handgun found in alleged suspects’ vehicle

Fernie, RCMP go to court over city log books in fatal ammonia leak probe

Log books center stage in clashing of investigations between the city and RCMP

B.C.’s biggest pot plant planned for Oliver

Co-founder Tony Holler said the 700,000 sq. ft. facility would produce 100,000 kg of pot per year

High-end whisky seized in B.C. bar raids

Raids end in seizures at Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver whisky joints

Most Read