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Student Falls From Hang Glider

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Canadian authorities are investigating the death of a Vancouver woman who somehow fell from a hang glider on Saturday. The woman, a Mexican who had lived in Canada for nine years, was on her first flight and was with an experienced instructor. Jason Warner, safety officer for the Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association of Canada, said it's the first time this kind of accident has occurred in Canada. He told the Vancouver Sun that right after launching from a mountain top about 80 miles east of Vancouver, the instructor realized his passenger had come loose from her harness and he tried to hang on to her. She slipped from his grasp and tried to hang on to his feet before one of his shoes came off and she fell about 1,000 feet to a logged-out area below. Her boyfriend was shooting a video of the flight from below.

It was the first time hang gliding for the couple and they were apparently enrolled in an introductory course with a local company. Warner said the instructor has more than 10 years of experience as a pilot and has flown tandem many times. He said the association will review its safety standards in light of the tragedy and has already issued a recommendation that pilots employ a buddy system to double-check gear before flight. "In terms of safety, we're going to be looking at all the standards of practices of the pilots," Warner said. "We're in the midst of making a standardized safety practice that everybody will agree on now that it's been pushed to the forefront."

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