Hang glider pilot involved in woman’s death pleads guilty

William Orders pleads guilty to criminal negligence in Agassiz incident

  • Feb. 8, 2014 10:00 a.m.

A hang-glider pilot has pleaded guilty to criminal negligence almost two years after an incident in which he failed to hook in his passenger and she plunged hundreds of metres to her death.

William Jon Orders entered the plea in the death of 28-year-old Lenami Godinez-Avila, who fell from his hang-glider shortly after takeoff in Agassiz on April 28, 2012.

Orders, 51, was also charged with obstruction of justice after he swallowed a memory card containing video of the incident. Crown does not intend to proceed with that charge.

Orders is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday, with both Crown and defence recommending five months in jail, according to a CTV News report.

An investigation by the Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association of Canada found the woman’s harness was not attached to the glider during takeoff. The probe also found Orders did not perform a pre-launch safety check.

The tandem flight was an anniversary gift from Godinez-Avila’s boyfriend, who also planned to fly with another pilot the same day. The couple had travelled from Vancouver to Agassiz in the eastern Fraser Valley.

Orders attempted to hold on to the woman as she slipped from his hang glider, but failed and she fell.

Her body was found later that night.

Orders abandoned hang-gliding after the incident.

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