04/28/2012 06:45 EDT | Updated 06/28/2012 05:12 EDT

Woman's body found after fall from hang glider

Search and rescue crews in British Columbia have found the body of a young woman who fell to her death while hang gliding, west of Agassiz in B.C.'s Fraser Valley Saturday afternoon.

The woman had been riding with an instructor off Mount Woodside on a tandem hang glider when she plunged to her death, according to police.

Jason Warner, the safety director with the Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association of Canada, said the accident happened within 30 seconds of takeoff and the woman likely fell "hundreds of feet."

He said the cause of the accident has not been determined.

"There's so many variables ... until the police and the pilot do an investigation on the equipment, we don't really understand how it can happen. It can be anything from equipment failure to pilot error, so at this moment there's no knowledge of what has actually happened," Warner said.

"The pilot is an experienced pilot [with] well over a decade of experience with this kind of thing and he's in shock."

'Very uncommon'

Warner said it was the woman's first time hang gliding.

"[A fall is] very uncommon ... to the best of our knowledge, something of this degree has never occurred, at least locally," he said.

RCMP Sgt. Mark Pelz said crash landings are not uncommon, but this is the first accident he's been involved in where a person became detached in the air.

"This is a sport that is very self-governed, this is an area that they commonly use and unfortunately accident occur and that's hopefully what this is," he said.

Mounties and WorkSafeBC are investigating.