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A man wearing a wingsuit fell to his death in a skydiving incident in Colorado on Saturday after both his primary and reserve parachutes failed to deploy.
Gregory Coates, 36, was skydiving near Vance Brand Airport in Longmont just before 3:30 p.m. when tragedy struck, according to the Boulder County Coroner’s Office. The airport is about 40 miles north of Denver and the incident took place in the area of Nelson Road and Grandview Meadows Drive in Longmont.
Coates, who was from a mountain community near the Denver Metro area, was wearing a wingsuit and was jumping with the Mile-Hi Skydiving Center, which is based at the airport, the Longmont Police Department said. A wingsuit skydiver wears a specialized webbed-sleeved jumpsuit with membranes between the arms, body and legs, which allows a diver to glide flight in the air.
A wingsuit jumper in Italy in 2021. A man wearing a wingsuit fell to his death in a skydiving incident in Colorado on Saturday after both his primary and reserve parachutes failed to deploy. (Marco Bertorello/AFP via Getty Images)
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According to several reports, neither Coates’ primary nor his reserve chute opened. It is not known what level of experience he had at skydiving or what type of aircraft he jumped out of.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was notified of the incident, but they did not respond to the scene, according to Fox 17.
The FAA told Fox News Digital it investigates the packing of the main and reserve parachutes and the rules of flight for the pilot and aircraft. The FAA does not determine the cause of skydiving incidents, a spokesperson said.
Fox News Digital requested comment from Mile-Hi Skydiving Center but did not immediately receive a response.
A map pinpoints Vance Brand Airport in Longmont, close to where a man died in a skydiving incident on Saturday. (Google Earth)
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Saturday’s deadly incident is not the first linked to Mile-Hi Skydiving Center.
In 2018, a 23-year-old man died while jumping with the company, according to Fox 17, which reports that the city has raised concerns about the company’s safety record in the past.
In 2008, a skydiving instructor and his student died after a fall while doing a tandem jump over the airport.
Owen Searls leads a group in a formation at Vance Brand Airport and Mile High Skydiving in Longmont in 2012. (Cliff Grassmick/Digital First Media/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images)
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More recently, a 26-year-old Boulder man was killed in a solo jump with the company in 2021, marking the fifth fatality connected to Mile-Hi Skydiving since 2018, according to CBS.
The FAA says there are around 30 to 40 fatalities among skydivers each year, calling it an “extraordinarily high rate.”
The United States Parachute Association, a private sports organization, says about 4 million skydives were made in the U.S. last year. Of those, more than 500,000 were first-timers.
Michael Dorgan is a writer for Fox News Digital and Fox Business.
You can send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @M_Dorgan.