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Colorado man identified in skydiving death near Vance Brand Airport

Colorado man dies in skydiving incident near Vance Brand Airport
Colorado man dies in skydiving incident near Vance Brand Airport 00:25

A skydiver has died under unknown circumstances near Vance Brand Airport, a city-owned airport in Longmont.

A spokesperson for the Longmont Police and Fire Departments said on Sunday the 36-year-old Colorado man died just before 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Monday, the Boulder County Coroner's Office identified him as Gregory Coates.

The man was skydiving with Mile High Skydiving and wearing a wingsuit and it appears neither his primary nor his reserve chute opened before he hit the ground.

Daily Camera Archives
A 2015 file photo shows a skydiver against Mount Meeker and Longs Peak approaching the landing area at Vance Brand Municipal Airport. Matt Jonas/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images

The man will be identified by the Boulder County Coroner's Office and now the FAA is investigating the incident in conjunction with the coroner's office and Longmont Police Department.

The FAA said it was aware of the death and is assisting in the investigation from the perspective of the packing of the parachutes and rules of flight for the pilot and aircraft.

CBS News Colorado reached out to the airport and Mile High Skydiving for comment, but neither immediately responded Sunday.

The airport has made headlines for the number of skydiving deaths associated with it over the past few years.

In 2021, a Boulder man was killed in a skydiving accident there, which was at least the fifth death associated with the airport at the time since 2018.

According to the FAA, 30 to 40 people die in skydiving incidents in the U.S. each year, which it calls an "extraordinarily high rate" in a document on its website. The U.S. Parachute Association, a private sports organization that issues skydiving licenses, creates safety manuals and best practices and tracks skydiving deaths, says the number of skydiving-related deaths is lower, with a 22-year low of 10 deaths among over 3.5 million jumps in the U.S. in 2021 and a high of 35 deaths out of 2.6 million jumps in 2001.

The airport opened in 1945 and was named after pilot and NASA astronaut Vance Brand, who's from Longmont, in 1988. It has 219 aircraft based out of it and had an average of 242 flight operations per day in 2019, according to data from the FAA.

EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story included the rate of skydiving death statistics from the FAA which we removed to eliminate confusion.

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