The hang glider pilot charged with obstructing justice in the death of his 27-year-old passenger has issued an apology.
William (Jon) Orders spoke to Global News Monday, and later released a typed letter to the Canadian Press in which he apologized to both the family of Lenami Godinez-Avila and the hang gliding and para-gliding community.
Godinez-Avila plunged to her death last month during a tandem flight with Orders off Mount Woodside, near Agassiz. Orders was later charged with obstruction of justice after swallowing a memory card from a camera that recorded the incident.
"Everyday my thoughts go out to how Lenami's family and friends must be feeling," said Orders. "She was very brave and I'm sure very loved by all. I want to offer my condolences and sympathy for what Lenami's family and friends must be going through. My intention was to give Lenami an amazing adventure and lots of smiles but I failed in such a major way.
"Please believe me when I say I am sincerely and deeply sorry. I fully appreciate that nothing I can say or do will ever make up for your loss."
Orders also apologized for what he called his "panicked action of swallowing the memory card." He said his own 12-year-old daughter was present on the day of the crash, which created more stress. He acknowledged that, by swallowing the memory card, he caused the incident to drag out.
Orders concluded by apologizing to other hang gliders and para-gliders.
"My only true intention in operating my tandem hand-gliding [sic] business was to introduce new people and bring new pilots to the sport which has been my passion for nearly 20 years. I have deep regrets that I may have in fact caused the opposite effect and I am extremely disappointed by that."
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