2 dead in Longmont skydiving accident
LONGMONT, Colorado ” A skydiving instructor and his student died Saturday after making a tandem jump over Vance Brand Municipal Airport.
The men were among other pairs on tandem jumps Saturday afternoon with Mile-Hi Skydiving Center, which is based at the airport, airport manager Tim Barth said.
Boulder County Coroner Thomas Faure identified the instructor as Daniel P. Braafhart, 54, of Commerce City, and the student strapped to him as Matthew R. Seering, 28, of Arvada. Autopsies were scheduled for Sunday.
The two apparently had trouble about 100 feet from the ground after jumping from about 10,500 feet.
“Everything was normal. The parachute was fine,” said Barth, who went to the scene after the accident. Barth said that about 100 feet from the ground, the instructor made a turn to land, with the wind behind him. About 50 feet from the ground, he made another turn but was going too fast and was too steep, Barth said.
“They hit the ground from about 50 feet in the air,” Barth said.
“What happened at the last moments, why a turn was initiated, I don’t know,” Mile-Hi Skydiving Center owner Frank Casares said. The center typically has about 35,000 jumps a year.
The Federal Aviation Administration was investigating.
The skydiving center’s Web site says it has been operating at its same site in Longmont for 11 years.
In July 2006, a professional skydiver died after problems with both her main and backup parachutes during a competition in swooping, which involves complicated aerobatics as competitors glide near the ground at high speeds. The event was held at Mile-Hi Skydiving Center.
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