One-third of this year’s U.S. fatal skydiving accidents occurred in Longmont – The Denver Post

A third of this year’s U.S. fatal sport skydiving accidents have been two men who died after jumping with Mile-Hi Skydiving Center based at Longmont’s Vance Brand Municipal Airport, according to the U.S. Parachute Association’s tracking of such fatalities.

Nancy Koreen, the U.S. Parachute Association’s director of sport promotion, said Tuesday there have been six fatal skydiving accidents in the country thus far in 2019, two of them in Longmont.

Longmont’s most recent skydiving death was Saturday morning, after a man officially identified Tuesday by the Boulder County Coroner’s Officeas Brock Barto, 29, of Dillon, apparently “misjudged his swooping landing, and impacted the ground hard,” according to police.

Nurses who happened to be at the airport attempted to revive Barto, and he was taken to Longmont United Hospital. He was pronounced dead there at about 10:45 a.m. Saturday, according to police.

Mile-Hi Skydiving in a Saturday statement distributed by its attorney, Bryan Biesterfeld, said Barto was “one of our skydiving family.”

On May 11, Timothy DeTine of Littleton, 57, died at a hospital after what police called “a skydiving incident” in which DeTine landed south of the airport. Mile-Hi Skydiving did not respond to requests for comments about the incident at the time, and it was not immediately confirmed that Mile-Hi was involved, but it is the only skydiving company operating out of Vance Brand Municipal Airport.

Koreen said the U.S. Parachute Association’s tally of six fatal U.S. sport skydiving accidents during the first half of 2019 did not include Patrick Gire, 40, of Denver, whose family said he died June 17 of complications stemming from a Sept. 21 skydiving mishap at the Longmont airport.

Gire’s death has not been included the association’s count of this year’s fatalities because of the time lapse since he crashed last year, Koreen said.

She said she did not immediately have information about where this year’s other four U.S. skydiving fatalities happened.

Last year, Simla resident Logan Polfuss, 23, was killed in an Oct. 18 fall when he jumped with eight other skydivers hosted by Mile-Hi Skydiving. His body was not recovered until the following day.

Polfuss’ death was one of 13 skydiving fatalities the U.S. Parachute Association reported as having occurred in the United States in 2018. Again, the association’s count for last year did not include Gire, because he did not die in 2018, Koreen said Tuesday.

Biesterfeld, Mile-Hi’s attorney, did not respond Tuesday to an email requesting comment on the U.S. Parachute Association’s counts of last year’s and this year’s fatal accidents.

The association in a February news release said last year’s 13  U.S. skydiving fatalities — out of an estimated 3.3 million jumps — was the lowest annual fatality number and rate since record keeping began more than 60 years ago.

Sport skydiving appears to be on a similar safety path again this year, based on the six fatalities the association has recorded thus far in 2019, Koreen said Tuesday.

Molly Cropp, a public information officer for the Longmont Fire Department, said Tuesday this year fire and ambulance crews have responded to four calls to the airport, three of which involved skydivers. She said there were five such calls last year.

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