X-rays show memory card in hang glider's body: RCMP
Andrew Weichel, ctvbc.ca
Published Wednesday, May 2, 2012 5:07PM PDT
X-ray images suggest the memory card a B.C. hang glider pilot allegedly swallowed after one of his passengers plummeted to her death on Saturday is still in his body, according to police.
Mounties believe William Jonathan Orders tried to derail an investigation into Lenami Godinez-Avila's fatal fall by ingesting a card that may contain a video recording of the gliding trip.
Cpl. Tammy Hollingsworth said though police have yet to obtain the card, an object similar to it has shown up on multiple X-rays Orders has undergone.
"There's been a series of X-rays taken, they have confirmed, so we are in the waiting stages right now," Hollingsworth said.
A bail hearing for Orders, who has been charged with obstructing justice, was postponed Wednesday. Police say the 50-year-old may face additional charges but have not clarified what they may be.
The size of Orders' allegedly-consumed card would depend on the model of Drift camera mounted on his glider.
If he was equipped with an older model, the memory card would have been a standard SD card measuring 24 by 32 millimetres; the latest model, Drift HD, holds a much easier-to-swallow microSD card measuring 11 by 15 millimetres – roughly the size of a pill.
Orders has 16 years' experience as a glider, and is the owner-operator of Vancouver Hang Gliding. He has been in custody since the tragic accident.
Godinez-Avila became detached from Orders' tandem glider on Saturday afternoon, clutching onto the pilot before falling 300 metres to the ground. It took seven hours for search crews to locate her body.
The 27-year-old had received the hang gliding experience as an anniversary present from her boyfriend, who was filming her trip.
Paraglider Alex Ramont, who helped search for Godinez-Avila's body, says she watched Orders set up the trip and that he missed a crucial safety check.
"I was there pretty much for the entire time that they showed up until the time they launched and I did not see a hang check performed," she said.
A hang check is executed by having a pilot and passenger hang from a stationary glider to make sure they're properly attached.
Orders is scheduled to appear in court again Friday.
The Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association of Canada issued a statement Wednesday, expressing "deep shock" over the fatal incident and announcing that Orders' tandem instructor certification has been suspended. The association says any discipline will be decided after an internal investigation is complete.