Mile-Hi Skydiving Fatalities Heighten National Numbers

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Longmont’s Mile-Hi Skydiving is under scrutiny once again.

On Saturday, June 29, 2019, Brock Barto, 29, “misjuded his swooping landing, and impacted the ground hard,” states the police.

Barto was helped by nurses who happened to be on-scene until he was taken to Longmont United Hospital. However, due to his injuries Barto was pronounced dead around 10:45 a.m., Saturday morning.

Barto’s death counts is the third related to Mile-Hi Skydiving in the past year.

Logan Polfus, 23, died on October 18. He was found in a field in unincorporated Boulder County. His death was determined to be due to the suit he was wearing.

Patrick Gire, 40, experienced a traumatic brain injury in a jump in 2018. He spent nine months recovering from those injuries before passing on June 17.

Timothy DeTine, 57, landed south of Vance Brand Airport. He was transported to a hospital and police ruled his death as a “skydiving incident.” The Denver Post reports that there is not confirmation that Mile-Hi was involved in DeTine’s incident, however, assumes that he may have jumped from one of their planes since it is “the only skydiving company operating out of Vance Brand Municipal Airport.”

The U.S. Parachute Association has recorded six fatal U.S. sport skydiving accidents in the first half of 2019. Those numbers do not include the death of Gire, since his incident happened in 2018.

Of the six recorded fatal accidents in 2019, excluding Gire’s death, three of them have happened at or in association with Longmont’s Vance Brand Airport.

According to Molly Cropp, public information officer for the Longmont Fire Department (LFD), there have been four calls to which fire and ambulance crews have responded this year. Three of those calls involved skydivers. Last year LFD responded to five such calls.

TopBuzz reports that USPA (United States Parachuting Association) has turned its attention toward Mile-Hi Skydiving. The organization works toward lowering the fatality count and rates in the skydiving sport. However, rates seem to be higher in busier locations, according to USPA Executive Director, Ed Scott.

According to Scott, Mile-Hi Skydiving ranks among the top 20 busiest skydiving companies in the U.S.

The lawyer for Mile-Hi Skydiving, Bryan Biesterfeld, said to Fox, that the year has been difficult for the skydiving center as it has had “an unusually high number of incidents.”

What this means for Mile-Hi Skydiving is yet unknown.

The Longmont Observer reached out to Mile-Hi Skydiving via phone and email. At the time of publication, the skydiving center had not responded.

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