AGASSIZ (NEWS1130) -  RCMP and the BC Coroners Service are investigating what went wrong after a woman fell to her death from a hang glider near Mount Woodside, west of Agassiz.

Lenami Godinez-Avila, 27, took off shortly after noon on Saturday as part of a tandem hang gliding pair. Moments later, she became detached from the veteran pilot she was flying with and fell roughly 300 metres to her death.

RCMP say the woman’s boyfriend was next in line for a glider ride and was watching when his girlfriend fell.

Ground crews searched all afternoon, but were unable to locate her. A second team was dispatched at about 7 p.m., when they located the pilot’s shoe. Roughly 20 metres away, the crew found the woman’s body. It’s believed that she grabbed onto the shoe as she fell towards the ground.

Coroner Barb McClintock says it’s her understanding there are many fail-safe mechanisms on hang gliders. But right now, she has more questions than answers.

“The first question is what went wrong in the first place and then one needs to figure out how this could go wrong,” McClintock tells News1130.

She says the coroners’ service will be investigating what went wrong and if recommendations can prevent further deaths.

Jason Warner, the safety director of the Hang Glider and Paraglider Association of Canada, says the experienced pilot is distraught.

“He’s in shock, he’s doesn’t know what’s up and down at the moment,” he explains.

Warner says it was the passenger’s first time hang gliding.

Tom Johns is a former tandem instructor from Redmond, Washington. He says to prevent accidents, a pilot and passenger would typically hook-in their harnesses, and then do a hang check.

“Both the passenger and the pilot lay down prone as if they were flying. Somebody else holds the glider and they confirm that the suspension system is correctly done and correctly oriented.”

Johns adds as a pilot, the passenger usually flies next to him, with an arm over his shoulder.

“The passenger doesn’t have to literally hold on, it’s just for their convenience and comfort. If they didn’t hold on, gravity would hold them right there.”   

Mt. Woodside is considered to be a popular site for both hang gliders and paragliders.