Kiwi hang glider faces new charge after woman's death

File photo / Thinkstock
File photo / Thinkstock

A New Zealand hang gliding pilot is facing a new charge in Canada over the death of a woman who fell 300 metres from a glider while he was taking her for a flight.

William Orders, 50, has been charged with criminal negligence causing the death of Lenami Godinez-Avila, the CBC News website reported.

In April last year, Orders was flying over Fraser Valley, in British Columbia, with Ms Godinez-Avila, 27.

Thirty seconds into the flight, she slipped and fell - in full view of her boyfriend who had booked the trips as an anniversary present and was waiting for his turn.

She had clung to Orders' body for a short time and pulled his shoe off but fell when she couldn't hold on any longer.

Orders holds a New Zealand passport and has worked here as a hang gliding pilot.

He had already been charged with an obstruction of justice charge for allegedly swallowing a memory card that was believed to contain a video of the fatal flight.

An investigation by the Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association of Canada last year found multiple distractions before takeoff contributed to the pilot's failure to ensure Ms Godinez-Avila was properly harnessed to the glider.

Orders apologised to the victim's family for his "panicked action" which he blamed on "overwhelming stress" that included having his 12-year-old daughter waiting where the flight was supposed to land.

He said he realised his actions had caused further pain for Ms Godinez-Avila's family and brought negative attention to the hang-gliding industry that had been his passion for nearly 20 years.

"I have concluded that I cannot and will not return to hang gliding,'' he said.

He was due to appear in Chilliwack provincial court next week.

- APNZ

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