Pilot Convicted for Gruesome Decapitation of Skydiver

A French aviator, whose identity remains undisclosed, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter on Tuesday, following a horrific skydiving accident in July 2018 that resulted in the death of 40-year-old wingsuit skydiver, Nicolas Galy. The pilot, who was also found guilty of operating an aircraft without a valid license, received a 12-month suspended sentence and a one-year flying ban.

The fatal incident occurred when Galy, less than 20 seconds into his jump over Bouloc-en-Quercy, collided with the wing of the single-engine Pilatus plane at an altitude of 14,000 feet. The impact instantly decapitated Galy. The court heard that at the time of the accident, the plane was in rapid descent while Galy and another skydiver were gliding in their wingsuits.

Prosecutors pointed to pilot error as the cause of Galy’s gruesome demise. However, the pilot refuted these claims, arguing that Galy had deviated from the expected course and should not have been in the plane’s path. The pilot admitted to not briefing the skydivers prior to their jump and losing sight of them, assuming they were further south.

The court also discovered during the trial that the pilot was operating the aircraft with an expired license. A lawyer representing Galy’s family stated that the case was characterized by “a lot of recklessness or negligence.”

In response to the tragedy, the Midi-Pyrénées Skydiving School Association, the pilot’s employer, was fined 20,000 euros by the Montauban criminal court, with half of the fine suspended. The skydiving school has since increased security measures and made briefings mandatory, as confirmed by its president, Isabelle Deschamps.

The pilot, expressing remorse, testified, “This has been the tragedy of my life but I am not at fault.” The case serves as a stark reminder of the inherent risks involved in extreme sports and the importance of adhering to safety protocols.