A New Zealand passport holder and hang gliding pilot says he was under "overwhelming stress" when he swallowed a memory card with images of an accident where a passenger fell 300m to her death.

William Orders, 50, was flying over Fraser Valley, in British Columbia, Canada, with Lenami Godinez-Avila, 27, when Miss Godinez-Avila slipped and fell on April 28 - in full view of her boyfriend who had booked the trips as an anniversary present and was waiting for his turn.

Orders, who reportedly holds a New Zealand passport and has worked as a hang gliding pilot in this country, confessed what he'd done to police soon after the accident.

The Herald understands he tried to get a job at Queenstown hang gliding firm two years ago but was rejected.


He has been charged with attempting to obstruct justice and was held in custody for a week while the memory card passed through his system. It's believed it may contain footage from the video camera that was attached to the glider.

Miss Godinez-Avila slipped from her harness 30 seconds into the flight. She clung to Orders' body for a short time and pulled his shoe off but fell when she couldn't hold on any longer.

After his court appearance, Orders told reporters he wished he could relive the day and have it turn out differently.

"I will be left with the events constantly going through my mind, and that I will have to endure forever. Please believe me when I say I am sincerely and deeply sorry."

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 now realised his actions had caused further pain for Miss 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.

His lawyer Lori Stevens told Canadian media he held expired New Zealand, Australian and British passports.


A Foreign Affairs spokeswoman last night said they were not aware of the case and consular assistance was not being provided.

Orders will return to court on June 18.