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 January 31, 2024

Skydiver Plummets To Death In Skydiving Incident

A serene Colorado sky turned tragic on Saturday when a skydiving excursion ended in a catastrophic accident.

Gregory Coates, a 36-year-old skydiver, lost his life near Vance Brand Airport in Longmont, Colorado, after both his primary and reserve parachutes failed to deploy.

The incident, which occurred just before 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, has sent shockwaves through the local community. Located near Nelson Road and Grandview Meadows Drive in Longmont, the site of the accident is about 40 miles north of Denver. Coates, hailing from a mountain community near the Denver Metro area, was an adventurous spirit, embarking on what was supposed to be an exhilarating skydive.

Tragic Patterns in Skydiving Incidents

Coates had chosen to skydive with Mile-Hi Skydiving Center, a company operating out of Vance Brand Airport. The skydiver was donning a specialized wingsuit, a garment designed to enable glide flight, adding an extra thrill to the jump. However, this thrill turned into horror when neither his primary nor his reserve parachute opened, a malfunction that led to the fatal outcome.

What makes this incident particularly alarming is the lack of clarity regarding Coates' skydiving experience and the type of aircraft used for the jump. These details remain obscure, leaving many questions unanswered about the circumstances leading up to the accident.

Although notified, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) did not respond to the scene. Their mandate in such incidents is specific – to investigate parachute packing and flight rules, but not to ascertain the cause of skydiving incidents. This policy often leaves gaps in understanding the complete picture of these tragedies.

Response from Authorities and Associations

Mile-Hi Skydiving Center, the organization with which Coates was skydiving, has not yet provided any comment regarding the incident. Fox News Digital reached out but did not receive an immediate response. This silence adds to the growing concerns about the Center's safety practices.

A spokesperson said the FAA does not determine the cause of skydiving incidents. They further noted the concerning statistics surrounding skydiving fatalities. The FAA's remarks highlight the inherent risks involved in the sport, which enthusiasts often overlook.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), there are approximately 30 to 40 skydiving deaths annually, which is considered an exceptionally high rate. The United States Parachute Association reports that around 4 million skydives occurred in the U.S. last year, with over 500,000 being first-time jumpers.

This latest incident is not the first involving Mile-Hi Skydiving Center. In 2018, a 23-year-old man died while jumping with the company. Further back, in 2008, a skydiving instructor and student lost their lives in a tandem jump. More recently, in 2021, a 26-year-old Boulder man was killed in a solo jump, marking this as the fifth fatality since 2018 connected to Mile-Hi Skydiving Center.

Recurring Safety Concerns at Skydiving Center

The string of fatalities linked to Mile-Hi Skydiving Center raises serious questions about the safety protocols and measures in place. It underscores a potentially disturbing pattern, one that demands closer scrutiny and, perhaps, more stringent regulatory oversight.

As the community mourns the loss of Gregory Coates, the call for a thorough investigation into these recurring incidents grows louder. It's a grim reminder of the risks associated with skydiving and the dire consequences of equipment failure.

The tragic fate of Coates and others before him has left the skydiving community and the public at large grappling with the complexities and dangers inherent in this high-adrenaline sport. It also serves as a wake-up call to reevaluate safety standards and practices in skydiving endeavors.

Lessons to learn from this tragedy

Reflecting on the recent skydiving tragedy, there are several lessons we can glean to possibly prevent future incidents. It's essential, however, to remember that despite all precautions, accidents can still occur, and victims should never be blamed.

1. Understand the Risks: Skydiving is an inherently risky activity. Prospective skydivers should be acutely aware of the dangers involved.

2. Research Skydiving Centers: Investigate the safety record of skydiving centers. A history of incidents can be a red flag.

3. Equipment Checks: Ensure that all equipment, including primary and reserve parachutes, are thoroughly checked and certified.

4. Training and Experience: Ascertain the level of training and experience required, especially when trying more advanced jumps like those involving a wingsuit.

Why this story matters

This story serves as a critical reminder of the inherent dangers of skydiving, a sport enjoyed by many. It sheds light on the importance of stringent safety measures and the need for transparency and accountability from skydiving centers. The incident at Mile-Hi Skydiving Center is a somber wake-up call for the entire skydiving community and those who partake in this high-risk activity.

The tragic incident involving Gregory Coates is a sobering reminder of the risks associated with skydiving. It highlights the need for vigilance, thorough preparation, and strict adherence to safety protocols by both skydivers and skydiving centers. As investigations continue, the hope is that lessons learned will lead to improved safety measures, preventing future tragedies.

  • A skydiving tragedy occurred in Colorado, resulting in the death of Gregory Coates.
  • Coates' skydive with Mile-Hi Skydiving Center ended fatally when both his primary and reserve parachutes failed to deploy.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration's role in such incidents is limited to investigating parachute packing and flight rules.
  • Mile-Hi Skydiving Center has a history of fatalities, raising concerns about its safety practices.

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Written By: Rampart Stonebridge

I'm Rampart Stonebridge, a curious and passionate writer who can't get enough of true crime. As a criminal investigative journalist, I put on my detective hat, delving deep into each case to reveal the hidden truths. My mission? To share engaging stories and shed light on the complexities of our mysterious world, all while satisfying your curiosity about the intriguing realm of true crime.
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