Experienced parachutist Jonathon Wickham, the 44 year old owner of Oz Shades in Odiaxere, Algarve, has died in a freak accident as his parachute failed to open during a skydiving jump.
Portimão municipal aerodrome had been busy catering for over 200 skydivers, mostly from northern Europe, in a weekend aimed at honing their skills in the clear skies above the Algarve.
The event organizer, 'Paravalor Centro de Paraquedismo,' had laid on two aircraft, with a capacity of seventeen places each, taking the intrepid thrill-seekers to 16,000 feet before leaping.
For reasons still unknown, Jonathon's parachute did not open and his safety back-up equipment also failed. Eye-witnesses say he was spinning through the air, indicating he may have lost consciousness.
Police failed to find his body on Saturday afternoon as poor light hampered their search, but their grim task resumed on Sunday morning with the help of police sniffer dogs. Jonathon's body was discovered in bushes two kilometres from the aerodrome at Alvor, at around 09.30am.
Jonathon Wickham was from Ormskirk, Lancashire and was the founder and owner of Oz Shades Lda, a successful 'shade sails' business based in Odiaxere with customers across the Algarve and beyond. He was a well-known and respected businessman who will be keenly missed by the Algarve business community, by his many customers and friends, but especially by his wife Catherine, who ran the business with her husband.