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Thu, May 03, 2012

First Hang Gliding Flight For Passenger Results In Fatality

Pilot Error Or Equipment Failure Suspected In Fatal Accident

A 27-year old woman on her first hang gliding trip died after slipping out of her harness shortly after takeoff from Woodside Mountain in British Columbia, Canada. Lenami Godinez reportedly fell 1,000 feet after desperately trying to hang on to the instructor’s feet. Miss Godinez and her boyfriend had hired a professional instructor to take them soaring on Saturday.

Investigating authorities are blaming the loss on either pilot error or equipment failure. The victim was found seven hours after she fell with one of the instructor’s shoes discovered 60 feet away.

The Canadian Press said the instructor knew something was wrong right away after launching from the mountain. As Miss Godinez started to slip out of her harness the pilot tried to hold on to her, according to Jason Warner, a hang gliding safety expert who spoke to the pilot immediately after the accident. The pilot attempted to wrap his legs around her, but his effort proved futile. She fell to the ground about 30 seconds after launching.

According to News 1130, after the accident the pilot was described as being in a state of shock. The man was uninjured and his name was not released. Mr. Warner described the incident as “uncommon” – Miss Godinez’ death is the second high-profile hang-gliding fatality in recent months.

FMI: www.tsb.gc.ca/eng
 

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