Media surround Chilliwack senior Crown Counsel Lori Stevens following the court appearance of William Orders

Police wait for swallowed video card in fatal hang gliding accident

The pilot in a fatal hang-gliding incident Saturday allegedly swallowed a memory card that may contain evidence sought by police.



Unanswered questions swirled outside the Chilliwack courthouse where a hang gliding pilot faced a bail hearing Wednesday.

But the answers will have to wait at least until Friday when court officials hope a memory card allegedly swallowed by the pilot delivers itself up.

Meanwhile, the accused, William Orders, the 50-year-old pilot, is being monitored at the Agassiz RCMP detachment.

Laird Cruickshank, defence counsel for Orders, consented  to the Friday adjournment, but refused further comment outside the courthouse.

RCMP Cpl. Tammy Hollingsworth confirmed X-rays had detected the memory card inside Orders, but could not say whether any artificial means were being used to speed up the arrival of the memory card.

She also would not disclose how the RCMP came by the knowledge the memory card had been swallowed, saying that is part of the ongoing police investigation.

Orders was charged with obstruction of justice after his passenger Lenami Godinez fell to her death Saturday.

But exactly how Godinez slipped from her harness and why Orders apparently compounded the tragedy by swallowing the memory card is still unknown.

“It’s a tragic thing at every level,” Donna Dixson said before the bail hearing started Wednesday.

“I hope the justice system can find the answer.”

Dixson said she met Godinez while working with her at the BC Winter Games secretariat in 2007.

“I could not believe it when I saw the headlines,” she said.

“It’s just beyond words to think about,” she said. “For me, the hardest part is how awful it would have been for her because she knew (she was about to fall) and she was hanging on …”

Dixson described Godinez as a “sweet” young girl.

“I can’t think of anyone sweeter,” she said. “She was just a darling person.”

Godinez, 27, died after falling 1,000 feet from the hang-glider piloted by Orders, 50.

Investigations by RCMP and BC Coroners Office continue to determine whether the fatal flight was caused by human error or equipment failure.

Orders and Godinez launched just before noon Saturday from Mount Woodside near Agassiz.

It was Godinez’ first time hang-gliding, an anniversary present from her boyfriend, who was videotaping the flight.

But shortly after launch, Orders apparently realized something had gone wrong and Godinez was slipping out of her harness.

He was unable to hold onto her, however, and she was unable to hold onto his legs, and tragically she fell to her death.