NEWS

Hang-gliding crash victim remembered at memorial

05/05/2012 03:16 EDT | Updated 07/05/2012 05:12 EDT

A woman who plunged to her death in a hang-gliding accident in B.C.'s Fraser Valley was remembered at a memorial on Saturday.

Lenami Godinez-Avila, 27, died last weekend after falling an estimated 300 metres about 30 seconds after launching off Mount Woodside in the Fraser Valley east of Vancouver. She was on a tandem flight piloted by Jon Orders, 50.

About a dozen hang-glider and para-glider pilots gathered on Saturday at the site where Godinez-Avila fell to mark her death and, they say, try to bring some closure to the accident.

Those gathered at the site erected a cross with Godinez-Avila's name and the date she died, and planted a cherry blossom tree in her honour.

Godinez-Avila's family was invited to the memorial, but said they needed more time before making the trek to the site where she died.

Friends of Godinez-Avila, who came to Canada from Mexico to study at Simon Fraser University, have set up a memorial scholarship fund in her honour at the university where she earned a BA in 2006.

Godinez's boyfriend had bought her the flight as an anniversary gift and was videotaping her takeoff, but stopped recording just before she fell to her death.

Pilot allegedly swallowed evidence

Orders, a hang-glider with 16 years of experience, was arrested after the incident and charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly swallowing the video evidence after the accident.

Police said Friday they had retrieved the memory card and a provincial court judge granted Orders bail. He is expected to be released from jail Monday on conditions including putting up $5,750 cash surety, not conducting any hang-gliding, and surrendering all passports and secondary citizenship documents.

His bail hearing was twice delayed to allow the small digital card to pass through his system.

Police are hoping the digital card retrieved from Orders will help them understand exactly how the tragic accident happened and also whether further charges are warranted.

Orders's website says purchase of a gliding experience comes with video footage of the adventure.

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