U.S. glider pilot freed on bail after accident that killed a woman

11/03/2019 09:28 PM
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Photo courtesy of Pingtung County Fire
Photo courtesy of Pingtung County Fire Department

Taipei, Nov. 3 (CNA) An American pilot of remote control gliders was released on NT$200,000 (US$6,700) bail Sunday after being questioned over an accident in which his glider struck a woman during a competition in Pingtung County and killed her.

Chen Yi-li (陳怡利), the chief prosecutor at the Pingtung District Prosecutors Office, said a forensic examination showed that the woman sustained a head injury, leading to the possibility that the American pilot may be liable for negligent homicide.

The pilot, identified as David Cortina, was prohibited by the court from leaving Taiwan, and he was ordered by prosecutors to turn over his passport and travel documents to prevent him from fleeing or hiding.

The accident occurred at 4:50 p.m. Saturday during the F3F Radio Control Soaring (Slope) World Cup at Lungpan Park on the eastern coast of the Hengchun Peninsula.

The aircraft, operated by Cortina, crashed into the 35-year-old mother, who was holding her 2-year-old son as she was walking on a path at the park about 450 meters from the race venue.

The woman fell and immediately lost consciousness after being hit, and she was pronounced dead at the site.

Her 2-year-old son suffered a cut on his neck but was fine otherwise, according to Hengchun Precinct police.

The landing spot was far away from the 100-meter course used to race the gliders. The course was out to sea and along the coast, while the park was well inland.

Cortina, a member of a team from California, participated in a similar race in Kenting in 2014, police said, and when he gave his statement Sunday, he expressed regret and apologized over the matter.

He said the aircraft disappeared suddenly, and as he began to look for it, he heard that it hit someone and led to the person's death.

"Extremely sorry," he said Sunday before getting into a police vehicle, according to police.

(By Kuo Chih-hsuan and Evelyn Kao)


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