A woman who fell 1,000ft to her death during a freak hang gliding accident wasn't strapped into the glider when she took off with her instructor, an investigation has revealed.
The pilot of 27-year-old Lenami Godinez-Avila was found distracted prior to their jump in British Columbia, Canada and consequently failed to perform a hang glider check prior to her death last spring, according to investigators.
'The investigation assumes that pilot distraction resulted in a failure to perform recommended standardized safety procedures, resulting in the death of the passenger,' Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association of Canada (HPAC) Investigator Martin Henry told the Calgary Herald.
It was approximately 30 seconds after Ms Godinez-Avila and pilot William Jonathan Orders, 50, took off near Agassiz on April 28 that she fell.
It was to be her first hang gliding experience with her boyfriend who witnessed her fall while desperately calling out to her: 'Hang on! I love you!'
Her boyfriend David, whom she was celebrating an anniversary with, was riding with a separate pilot when it happened.
'A review of the events leading up to take-off suggests that there were multiple distractions that may have resulted in a breakdown of standard operating procedures,' the HPAC report read.
None of the seven witnesses interviewed saw her undergo a hang check.
Nicole McLearn who was there the day Lenami died said the couple were 'joyous' as they watched the other hang gliders take to the air, growing excited about their turn.
She told the Post Media News that as soon as she and instructor William Jonathan Orders became airbound, it was clear something was wrong.
She said: 'I could see her starting to slip down his body ... past the waist, down the legs. Finally she got to the feet and tried to hang on and obviously couldn't hang on for that much longer and let go, tearing off the tandem pilot's shoes in the process.'
Usually an instructor and the student should be side by side, but Lenami was below him and it became obvious she was not hooked in.
Miss McLearn said it appeared that Godinez-Avila’s feet were dangling, meaning she was relying on her upper body to hold on and the instructor was trying to wrap his legs around her torso.
She was only in the air about 30 seconds before she died.
At the launch site, her boyfriend watched what was happening and screamed as she fell: 'No! Lenami! Hang on! I love you!'
Orders was held in custody following an admittance to police that he swallowed a video card which may have recorded events leading up to the incident.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said they have since obtained the card, described as no bigger than a finger nail in size, but wouldn't comment on the evidence collected from it.
They also said they seized video taken by the boyfriend on the ground.
Orders was granted bail when he appeared in a provincial court in Chilliwack, British Columbia in May. A trial is set for April of 2013 on a charge of attempted obstruction.
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