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Pilot in B.C. hang gliding death charged with obstruction

Lenami Godinez, 27, had launched on a tandem flight, in which she was supposed to be tethered to the hang glider, when she fell 300 metres to her death Saturday, April 28 in Mount Woodside, BC.

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William Johnathan Orders, the pilot of the hang glider from which a young woman fell to her death on the weekend, has been charged with obstructing justice.

"The charge is related to the allegation that he withheld potential key evidence which could help determine whether he played a role in any wrongdoing," RCMP Corporal Tammy Hollingsworth said in a statement Monday.

Lenami Godinez, 27, had launched on a tandem flight, in which she was supposed to be tethered to the hang glider, when she fell 300 metres to her death Saturday.

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Witnesses said the pilot, 50, was seen trying to cling to her harness, but she slipped out of his grasp. The accident happened shortly after the hang gliders had launched from Mount Woodside, a popular hang gliding spot that looms over the Fraser Valley, near Agassiz.

The Agassiz RCMP and the BC Coroner's Services are investigating the incident.

"This is an absolutely tragic accident, there are really no other words to describe it," said Cpl. Hollingsworth. "What exactly happened as far as why she fell is still under investigation and we are hoping the investigation will answer that question as well as other questions we all may have."

Ms. Godinez, a provincial government employee who worked with the Environment Ministry in Surrey, was taking the flight as an anniversary present from her boyfriend, who was watching and who planned to take a later flight.

Witnesses said she fell 30 seconds after launching.

"Police, RCMP Air Services, Emergency Health Services, and Search and Rescue teams from Chilliwack and Kent-Harrison attended the scene and began an extensive search in a heavily wooded area for the woman who was later located in a logged area," said police in a statement.

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About the Author
National correspondent

Mark Hume is a National Correspondent for The Globe and Mail, based in Vancouver, writing news and feature stories on a daily basis about his home province of British Columbia. His weekly column, which often challenges the orthodoxy on environmental issues, appears every Monday. More

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