HomeTop HeadlinesSkydiver Dies in Fatal Base Jump

Skydiver Dies in Fatal Base Jump

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The man who lost his life in a skydiving accident near Vance Brand Airport in Longmont, Colorado, has been identified as 36-year-old Gregory Coates by the Boulder County Coroner’s Office. The fatal incident occurred on Saturday, January 27, 2024, when Coates’ parachutes failed to deploy.

Longmont Public Safety arrived at the accident spot around 3:27 p.m. They reported that Coates had been skydiving with Mile-Hi Skydiving Center, a skydiving service at the airport.

Coates, a resident of a mountain community near the Denver Metro area, Colorado, was using a wingsuit for his jump.

A wingsuit is designed to allow skydivers to glide and control their flight by increasing their surface area using fabric wings. However, a parachute is still necessary for a safe landing.

Early reports indicate that neither Coates’ primary nor his backup parachutes were deployed before he hit the ground. This malfunction is currently the focal point of the ongoing investigation.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has joined the investigation, examining the packing of both the main and reserve parachutes as well as the compliance with flight rules by the pilot and aircraft involved.

Tony Molinaro, an FAA spokesperson, explained that while the FAA is tasked with investigating these specific areas, they will not determine the cause of the crash.

Mile-Hi Skydiving Center, where Coates was skydiving, markets itself as a leading provider of skydiving experiences. The company, a member of the United States Parachute Association, promises top-notch skydiving equipment, instructors, and customer service.

Despite the inherent risks involved in skydiving, there are discrepancies in the reported annual fatalities. The FAA reports an “extraordinarily high” number of 30 to 40 deaths nationwide each year. Conversely, the U.S. Parachute Association cites a decrease in skydiving-related deaths, with a record low of 10 deaths in over 3.5 million jumps in 2021.

The Longmont Police Department, Colorado, is working with the Boulder County Coroner’s Office and the FAA to uncover the circumstances that led to Coates’s death.

This tragic incident marks at least the sixth skydiving fatality associated with Mile-Hi Skydiving since 2018.

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