The Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association of Canada is urging people not to lose confidence in the sport after new charges were laid against a hang-glider pilot involved in a fatal accident last year.
Association vice-president Bruce Busby says the accident in B.C.’s Fraser Valley had a huge effect on the business, causing tandem flight bookings to drop dramatically. But Busby wants to remind people that the long-term safety record of the sport is exemplary.
"Don't give up on hang-gliding and paragliding," Busby told CBC News. "We'll make sure this is never forgotten in our history and we'll make sure to do everything we can to make sure this never happens again."
Jon Orders, 50, was the pilot when his 27-year-old passenger plunged 300 meters to her death last April shortly after takeoff from a mountainside near the community of Agassiz. It's alleged that passenger Lenami Godinez-Avila had not been properly tethered to the craft by Orders before they took off.
Orders is already facing an obstruction of justice charge for allegedly swallowing a memory card that was believed to contain a video of the fatal flight. On Friday, prosecutors added a charge of criminal negligence causing death.
Busby said association members do thousands of safe tandem flights every year and that last year’s fatality this was the first case of a passenger ever being dropped.
Orders is due to make an appearance in court in Chilliwack Monday.