May 7th, 2012
10:28 AM ET

Report: 'Hang on! I love you!' hang glider flier's boyfriend screamed

Hang-gliding enthusiasts gathered at the site of a fellow flier's death over the weekend as witnesses recalled the last words the victim's boyfriend yelled during her deadly flight over British Columbia.

Lenami Godinez-Avila, 27, was on her first flight on a hang glider on April 28, when she fell 1,000 feet to her death in a forest clearing near Agassiz, British Columbia.

Fellow hang glider pilots, most of whom had never met the woman, got together in the clearing on Saturday, erecting a cross and planting a cherry tree as a memorial, Canada's CTV reported.

"We embraced her as our own, and so because of that, the deep sorrow is like losing someone close to us," said a tearful Jason Warner, a safety officer for the Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association of Canada.

Meanwhile, Nicole McLearn, a witness to the accident, told Post Media News in Canada that Godinez-Avila and her boyfriend were "joyous" as they watched other hang gliders take to the air that Saturday.

Another witness, Frederic Bourgault, said Godinez-Avila flashed a big smile as she prepared for the tandem flight with instructor William Jonathan Orders.

Both witnesses said as Orders and Godinez-Avila ran for their takeoff, something looked wrong, according to the Post report.

“Oh, she’s hanging low,” Bourgault told the Post he said out loud.

McLearn thought their silhouettes "didn't look right," according to the report.

McLearn told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. that when the glider was in the air, Godinez-Avila appeared to be wearing her harness, but it wasn’t attached to the glider.

"He was horizontal but she was now hanging vertically, and it looked like in essence she had him in a bear hug around the chest area," McLearn told the CBC.

"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," McLearn said.

Back at the launch site, Godinez-Avila's boyfriend watched her fall, according to the Post report.

“Lenami! Hang on! I love you!” he screamed, the Post reported.

She was in the air about 30 seconds before she fell.

After the flight, Orders was arrested and charged with obstructing justice. Police say he swallowed a memory card possibly containing video of the fatal accident.

He was granted bail on Friday after posting bond of 5,750 Canadian dollars, said Neil MacKenzie, communications counsel with the province's criminal justice branch.

The recording has since passed and is now in police custody, MacKenzie said. He declined comment on whether anything retrievable could be taken from the card.

Orders is expected to be released from custody on Monday, CTV reported.

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Filed under: Canada • Courts • Crime • World
soundoff (284 Responses)
  1. Reason

    they are honoring the supernatural being that took her from this earth?
    I dont get it. If I believed in fairy tales, I would be pretty upset that God had to take her from me.

    May 7, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • jason2455

      exactly right

      May 7, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • realistic

      God, if you believe in Him, is not at fault . He didn't cause her harness to NOT be attached nor did He cause her grip to fail. It was human error that caused her death.

      May 7, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris R

      Well, that basically shows you don't really understand the theology at all then. Look, I'm not a huge believer myself but it might be helpful if you actually understood some of the belief system. Being that we're in the *vast* minority of people it's worthwhile knowing what everyone else is talking about. Unless you were just being rude – which I have to tell you – not a a great way to convince other people what a rollicking good time atheism is.

      May 7, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • termlimits

      Her decision to hang glide coupled with the instructor's mistakes send her on her way to somewhere.

      May 7, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Reasonable

      What you don't "get" is that the goal of Christianity is not to maximize one's mortal life on Earth, but to gain entry into the Eternal Kingdom.

      But it would make sense to not understand that critical detail, if you equate believing in the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and Entropy to also believing in fairy tales.

      May 7, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Edgar Hoopkank

      No one sad so. Read the article again.

      May 7, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • JPX

      Word. People are always quick to pray to the very "god" that allows bad things to happen. "Gee, thanks for not saving my girlfriend, God, you're just a wonderful guy!" Religion is so stupid.

      May 7, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      People quick to bash anyone as silly for believing in God, are just as bad as people that believe bashing people without thinking, too. Your problem is that you jumped to that conclusion to let everyone know what you personally think, yet there was no mention of God, praying or any religion at all for that matter.

      May 7, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • BigSir

      Maybe the belief in magic is your misunderstanding. If the harness is not attached, its not attached.

      May 7, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr T

      So If God intervened every time we were going to make a decision that would take away our free will. We have free will therefore we make decisions that have consequences. Those consequences can have a positive outcome or a negative outcome.

      May 7, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Williams

      """God, if you believe in Him, is not at fault"""

      What BS. If she had survived the fall you'd be in here saying it was a MIRACLE.

      May 7, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      That's none of your concern. Doesn't hurt you, does it? You're just as bad as those Christians who push their belief on others.

      May 7, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sinbad

      Praise Allah, but tie up your camel.

      May 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rod C. Venger

      Oh ye of little faith. You make so many assumtions, all of them wrong. Why do you assume that because we see this life as the most important thing of our existence that God sees it the same way? God is the eternal being that exists in a life we can't understand. He's there before our birth, here during our lives, and there after our death. We only know what we know here, while we are here. After we die, God will be there...but we may not necessarily have any remembrance of this life. There's no evidence of it either way. You might even consider that this IS death. We lived, died and here we are...Heaven or Hell, depending on whether or not God is present in our existence. Maybe that's all it is. And people that we see die, no matter how...just them moving along to yet another place. I don't know, and I don't claim to know, unlike you, who seems to presume that God should be bowing to your beliefs rather than the other way around. God's put some expectations on you which you accept or ignore at your peril. Any expectations that you put on God are merely your own doing and having nothing to do with Him. God gave us free will for a reason. Would you force a woman into marriage? He can't force His will on us as that would just enslave us. Like a marriage, it works best when both are in agreement. And like any parent, He likely is alternately angry, frustrated, elated or sad at our actions. Free will.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • diego homans

      Chris, you've said nothing.

      May 7, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jimmy

    but your IQ under 70 is not, you know what every one could legaly call you then right =0)

    May 7, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  3. Ben

    Andre, we get it. You don't believe in god. Neither do I, but I do believe in not being a complete jack-wagon. Please bear in mind that for a time many atheists chose to describe themselves as "humanists", and in the future, try to find some of that humanity before posting.

    May 7, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • grandpaof4

      Amen ... in a non-religious tone!

      May 7, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  4. ricardo1968

    Shut up you troll.

    May 7, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  5. hamsta

    Just because YOU cant see hear or feel god doesnt mean he is imaginary. god has proven himself to me – scientificly i should be dead, if not dead i should be a paraplegic, if not parylized i definitely should not be able to walk.but leave it to joe friday to make a murder investigation out of an accident.

    May 7, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • JPX

      Hamsta, surviving your illness is not a "miracle" from god, it's a statistical possibility. If you take 100 gravely ill individuals a few of them will survive. This is why when millions of people go to Lourdes a few of them get better. It has nothing to do with god but everything to statistics.

      May 7, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sasquash Fever

      Too bad you are not dead.
      Would save the rest of us having to read your dribble.

      May 7, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. duh

    this is the same story from last week with a few more words.....

    May 7, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      I'm sure I'm not the only one that didn't see this story (with a few less words ) some days ago.

      May 7, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |

    Very strange story so the boyfriend didn't do it it was the instructor but why would he want to kil her? Doesn't make any sense, and anyone with common sense would look and see that you are not attached to the glider. I would be like what the F is this ?

    May 7, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Where do you get the impression that this was ever a question of the instructor wanting to kill anyone? Sounds like a stupid mistake and she probably wasn't aware of how to be hooked up safely, since it was her first time. Sounds like he screwed up and the woman died due to that, and he panicked and tried to hide the evidence of his neglect.

      May 7, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. die already

    What a moronic thing to say when people are trying to mourn someones loss. Why don't you go back to your imaginary social life and learn about self respect..

    May 7, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jackie

    But why would he swallow the memory card?

    May 7, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • John the Electrician

      Because he's going to get charged with manslauter for not doing his job and letting someone get killed.

      May 7, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • realistic

      Because he is guilty of something.

      May 7, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Sasquash Fever

      But why would he swallow the memory card?


      May 7, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jackie

    By swallowing he memory card, it makes him look like he's done something that shouldn't be seen

    May 7, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • nobaddays68


      May 7, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. John the Electrician

    In Brazil last year a tandem instructor forgot to hook himself in and the passanger had to learn to fly real quick. They both survived. Training teaches you to not hang on if not hooked in. You just let go and tumble down launch, hopefully not a cliff. Seen it happen once and the glider turned back and almost took out those in the launch line.

    May 7, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • TP320

      What were they doing...jumping off the roof with umbrellas??? Talking 1000 foot drop here...

      May 7, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  12. Monica from Victoria, BC

    What a tragic story... my heart breaks for this young woman, her family and her boyfriend. Sounds to me like the instructor was negligent. I read somewhere that he had very little sleep the previous night.

    May 7, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Meinbc

      @Monica (re: the instructor had very little sleep) You are correct – on his Facebook page, he apparently had a posting "going up with only 1 hour of sleep" It was deleted on the same day and I believe his account was also. Certainly, if he is charged with Criminal Negligence Causing Death this could come into play. RIP Lenami 🙁

      May 7, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ivan

    "Lenami Godinez-Avila, 27, was on her first flight on a hang glider on April 28, when she fell 1,000 feet to her death in a forest clearing near Agassiz, British Columbia."


    May 7, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  14. svann

    I think the harness became detached in flight. If it was not attached before takeoff then they would have known it immediately when they left the ground and never would have gotten 1000 feet up.

    May 7, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • LG

      They did know immediately! They jumped off a cliff so they were already up 1,000 feet. Pilot said he knew immediately and tried to grab her harness and hold on to her, and this also confirms eye witness accounts.

      May 7, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Robert keeler

    I am an advanced HG pilot with an observer rating. Failure to "hook in" is a fairly common accident. Something or someone will distract you right before launch and you forget. Tha's why we have a "hang check at the last min. often someone else will stand at the launch site and look at the carabiner to make sure it's hooked up on each takeoff.

    May 7, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
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