A veteran wingsuit flyer’s head was cut off by the wing of a plane when their aerial paths crossed.
Alain C, the pilot, faces a manslaughter trial in France for the 2018 accident.
Nicholas Galy, 40, was a passenger on Alain C’s plane, and was struck when the aircraft descended.
Seconds after jumping from a plane over the southern French countryside, wingsuit flyer Nicholas Galy got struck by the aircraft’s left wing, a court in Montauban heard on Tuesday.
The collision decapitated Galy, a 40-year-old aeronautical engineer and veteran skydiver, at about 14,400 feet, according to investigators.
The grisly July 2018 incident has been the center of a manslaughter trial against Alain C, the pilot of the single-engine aircraft, reported French outlet BFMTV.
A defendant, known as Alain C, an employee of a local parachuting school, could face a 12-month suspended prison sentence recommended by prosecutors, per the outlet.
His aircraft had been carrying Galy, a second wingsuit flyer, and several parachutists over the Bouloc-en-Quercy region, per a report by the Civil Aviation Accident Investigation Office seen by Insider.
After dropping off his passengers, Alain C began to descend quickly, per the report.
As the plane descended, the two wingsuit flyers had completed their free falls and started gliding with their suits, per the report.
That was when the aircraft caught up with Galy and struck him, killing the engineer and causing his emergency parachute to deploy, according to investigators.
A camera mounted on the second wingsuit flyer’s helmet filmed the collision, and officials said they used the footage for their investigation.
Alain C told investigators that he lost sight of Galy and his fellow wingsuit flyer after they jumped, but said this was normal and that he veered his plane away from where he assumed their glide paths would be.
The pilot and wingsuit flyers hadn’t discussed their planned trajectories with each other, BFMTV reported from Tuesday’s court hearings.
“Compared with parachutists who are in free fall, it’s more complicated with the wingsuiters who go more in a straight line,” Alain C told the Montauban court, per The Times of London. “They don’t descend much and can be in conflict with the aircraft.”
He said that he expected Galy to be further north, and that the wingsuit flyer had not followed “the expected course and should never have been on that course,” per The Times.
Prosecutors disagreed and argued that Galy had kept to proper procedures. “The victim was the only one who obeyed the rules without negligence,” prosecutor Jeanne Regagnon said, per The Times.
Alain C said the responsibility for Galy’s death wasn’t his, according to the outlet. “I think my flight path made sense. This has been the tragedy of my life, but I am not at fault,” he said.
But he was also found to have breached regulations during the 2018 flight. His flying license carried a medical restriction at the time that prohibited him from flying alone, per the air accident bureau’s investigation report.
Alain C admitted to the court that his license was invalid for the flight that day, according to The Times.
His employer, the Midi-Pyrénées Parachuting School, also faces a $10,600 fine on the accusation that it did not check Alain C’s license.
The parachuting school’s president, Isabelle Deschamps, told the court that the school’s security measures have been tightened and that detailed flight briefings have become obligatory there, per BFMTV.
A lawyer for the Midi-Pyrénées Parachuting School did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent outside regular business hours.
The case verdict is set to be announced on November 21.
Read the original article on Insider