William Jon Orders has pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death in a Chilliwack, B..C. courtroom this morning for causing the death of his hang-gliding passenger,  Lenami Godinez-Avila, 27.

Last year Orders pleaded not guilty to the charge, but he changed his plea to guilty during a court appearance on Friday morning.

Godinez-Avila, a Mexican student, fell 300 metres to her death while tandem hang-gliding with Orders in April, 2012.

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Jon Orders, the pilot in a fatal B.C. hang-glider incident, publicly apologized to the victim's family, saying he 'failed in such a major way' during the tragic 2012 flight. (CBC)

Witnesses said it looked like she wasn't strapped in. To make matters worse the veteran pilot panicked and swallowed a video memory card from a camera recording the flight.

Police later recovered the memory card but no video of the flight has ever been publicly released.

Aside from uttering the words "Not guilty" in court last year, Jon Orders had only spoken publicly about Godinez-Avila's death once, when he issued an apology to her family.             

"Every day my thoughts go out to how Lenami's family and friends must be feeling. I want so much to relive that day and to have it turn out differently," said Orders after the death in 2012.         

"I realize that my actions cause this matter to drag out unnecessarily, and for that I am deeply regretful."

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story mistakenly said that Jon Orders had also previously pleaded guilty to a charge of obstruction of justice. He did not.
    Feb 11, 2014 11:15 AM PT