Officials ID victim in paragliding accident | PostIndependent.com
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Officials ID victim in paragliding accident

Naomi Havlen
Aspen Correspondent

The man killed Thursday during a paragliding accident in Aspen has been identified as Max Sullivan, a 32-year-old resident of Boulder.

Sullivan was part of a group of about a dozen paragliders who took off from Aspen Mountain in the evening, soaring toward their landing destination in the Marolt Open Space near Aspen’s roundabout. Just before 8 p.m., however, witnesses saw Sullivan flying quickly toward the ground with his paraglider in a spiraling pattern.

He struck the ground and could not be resuscitated by emergency responders.

The group of paragliders was part of Parapente Aspen, a club that visitors to Aspen must join before paragliding. According to club member Dick Jackson, who was paragliding with the group on Wednesday evening, the group is a nonprofit that dictates all the rules and regulations on how, where and when they can fly in the Aspen area.

Sullivan had arrived in Aspen on Wednesday and already flown in the area once in the morning. Jackson said he saw Sullivan spiraling toward the ground at the end of his flight but did not see the man hit the ground because the rest of the paragliding group had landed on the other side of a stand of trees.

The conditions for paragliding were ideal Thursday evening, Jackson said, and Sullivan was flying with “the best equipment he could use.” Jackson had no other information about the victim.

“He apparently did something that induced the problem with the paraglider, but in a fatality like this there’s no ability to talk to the victim,” Jackson said.

“It’s incredibly sad, and we’re absorbing the whole thing today.”

The Pitkin County coroner listed massive blunt force trauma as the cause of Sullivan’s death.


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