An experienced skydiver was decapitated by the wing of a plane seconds after he jumped.
The French pilot has been found guilty of manslaughter and operating an aircraft without a valid license.
The president of a French court said there had been a lack of communication between the victim and the pilot.
A French pilot who decapitated a wingsuit flyer with the wing of his plane has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
Nicholas Galy, 40, an experienced skydiver and aeronautical engineer, was struck by the plane’s wing seconds after he jumped over the French countryside in July 2018.
The pilot was found guilty of manslaughter and operating an aircraft without a valid aeronautical license, the Montauban criminal court ruled on Tuesday, French outlet Le Parisien reported.
He was given a suspended sentence of 12 months and banned from flying for a year.
A lawyer for the victim’s family, Emmanuelle Franck, criticized the pilot for “a lot of recklessness or negligence” in a hearing on September 19.
The president of the court also said that there was a lack of communication between the victim and the pilot.
The retired pilot, who was not named but was identified in previous reporting as Alain C, was formerly chief pilot at a local parachuting school, The Midi-Pyrénées Skydiving School Association.
The court gave the school a fine of about $22,000, but half of it was suspended, Le Parisien said.
The single-engine 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 previously seen by Insider.
Wingsuit fliers are skydivers who jump while wearing a webbing-sleeved jumpsuit, which allows a longer time gliding in the air compared with free falling.
Galy was the last person to jump from the plane, after which the pilot began descending quickly, per the report.
The pilot and the wingsuit fliers had not discussed the trajectory the plane would take, Le Parisien reported, and the plane caught up with Galy and struck him.
Galy was killed, causing his emergency parachute to deploy, investigators said.
A camera mounted on another wingsuit flyer’s helmet captured the incident, and officials said they used the footage for their investigation.
The pilot previously defended himself and told the court that he did not think he was at fault for Galy’s death, The Times of London reported.
“I think my flight path made sense. This has been the tragedy of my life, but I am not at fault,” he said.
“Compared with parachutists who are in free fall, it’s more complicated with the wingsuiters who go more in a straight line,” he said, per the outlet. “They don’t descend much and can be in conflict with the aircraft.”
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