A 12-month suspended prison sentence was sought on Tuesday against a pilot employed at a skydiving club in Tarn-et-Garonne for beheading a 40-year-old wingsuit man in mid-flight.
On July 27, 2018, Nicolas Galy, an aeronautical engineer, was hit, at an altitude of 4,000 meters, by a wing of the plane from which he had just jumped ten seconds earlier.
Wingsuiting involves jumping into the void with a flexible winged jumpsuit before opening the parachute.
The pilot, an employee of the Midi-Pyrénées Skydiving School, in Bouloc-en-Quercy (Tarn-et-Garonne), should not have flown that day, since his health condition prevents him from flying alone, temporarily, according to the investigation. carried out by the Civil Aviation Accident Investigation Office (BEA).
Prosecuted for manslaughter before the Montauban criminal court, the 64-year-old pilot told the hearing that he thought his license was valid.
The Bouloc-en-Quercy skydiving school is also being prosecuted in this case for security violations. The prosecutor requested a fine of 20,000 euros (28,000 Canadian dollars), of which 10,000 (16,000 Canadian dollars) suspended, against the association, accused of not having verified the license of its employee.
Since the tragedy, security measures have been strengthened and more draconian and briefings have become mandatory, underlines the school’s president, Isabelle Deschamps. She adds that the accused, the club’s chief pilot, was himself responsible for checking the licenses of the other pilots.
The lawyer for the civil party, Emmanuelle Franck, deplores “a lot of recklessness or negligence.”
Immediately after descent, the aircraft pilot began the descent towards the airfield runway. There was no pre-jump consultation about the trajectory to follow.
The president of the court pointed out a lack of communication between the victim and the pilot.
For the prosecutor, “the victim is the only one who respected the rules without negligence.”
“This tragedy affects everyone and we share the pain of the victims. The practice is extremely dangerous. Flying we touch the limit of the human being,” she said in defense of the pilot Elsa Correa Barbaris.
The decision was reserved until November 21.