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. dfgsdg

    So sad that this womans life depended on this guy remembering a security harness... I was going to go skydiving for my birthday a while back but when I called them something seemed off. I felt that my life was in these peoples hands and they were acting weird. I didn't trust them so I never went. It is scary to learn that one mistake by someone you depend on can cause an accident like this.

    May 7, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jon

    Did she bounce?

    May 7, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • doughnuts

      Depends on how hard the ground was.

      May 7, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • caw

      Not as much as the air molecules do in your empty head.

      May 7, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rolyat


      May 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • buckfigben

      Jon's parents obviously couldn't handle the job of raising a self respecting young man. They raised a coward that plays funny man behind a keyboard. What a shame. Your parents sucked. Let's hope you don't have any children to continue the family tradition of raising ignorant waste.

      May 7, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      @Jon: STFU

      May 7, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Snoop

      She bounced. Just like you did, when your momma dropped you on your head. She obviously didn't do a good enough job on you.

      May 7, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • amanda

      About as much as you will on the way to hell. I look forward to your early demise.

      May 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. doughnuts

    Two words: Hang check.

    I've never even been hang-gliding and I know that much.

    May 7, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Katelyn

    This is so sad...this is literally one of my worse nighmares and is why I will never do something like this.

    May 7, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wes

      You really shouldn't live your life afraid to do anything adventurous because occasional accidents happen, Katelyn.

      May 7, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Alan

    My condolences to the family. May God bless.

    May 7, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. doughnuts

    If at first you don't succeed, then sky-diving (or hang-gliding) is not your sport.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. susan

    That the instructor took the time to swallow a memory card, surely indicates he knew he would become liable. Sas, sad story.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. top petty

    I hear free falling in the back ground.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joseph

      You meant background I'm sure. You must be too busy topping petty.

      May 7, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John

    Let's see . . . "Hang on . . I love you" . . . . .. Wow. What nobility.

    Maybe if you had shouted this instead "Hey instructor!! Dive the hang-glider toward the ground so she doesn't have as far to fall you moron" then maybe your girlfriend wouldn't be dead. If any problem whatsoever has materialized with a hang-glider flight, then the safest maneuver in all cases is to put the glider into a "slip" and get as close to the ground as possible to minimize ground contact injury when it does occur. Trying to maintain flight when a passenger is clinging and about to fall is not only absurd, but lacks basic common sense on the part of the instructor.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wes

      Sounds like you're making many assumptions here.

      May 7, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • janemutiny

      Yeah, it's the boyfriend's fault. If only he had shouted instructions to the instructor, who was more than the length of three football fields away up in the air with a helmet on and the wind rushing by strong enough to rip away the grip of someone who knew that she would die if she let go. Yeah, that's the ticket.

      May 7, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Okay. I realize my mistake. Any fall greater than 50 feet would most likely result in a fatality. She fell from 1000 feet. There is no way the pilot would have been able to descend that quickly. I am an idiot!

      May 7, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. TriXen

    So sad... 🙁

    May 7, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tim

    Swallowing the memory card means HE was at fault and HE knew it! He should be charged in causing her death!

    May 7, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tumbleweeds

    Gravity works.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. wowyouguysaredumb

    Pretty incensative headline CNN. "HANG I LOVE YOU" last words said to hang glider who fell 1000 feet to her death... really?

    May 7, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. boohowdy

    I got to get off my brothers computer, but it so much more fun to anger people on someone else's cnn account.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. kelli


    May 7, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
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