In what looks like a tragic accident caused by “rotor” crosswinds, a 39-year-old Portuguese fell 300 metres when his parachute suddenly closed over a rocky area in Brazil known as Ouro Preto. João Ferreira da Silva had been trying to beat his own personal best of 120km in “free flight”.
Authorities now are trying to establish why the civil engineer’s parachute collapsed – but all indications are that Silva had unwittingly hit one of the “rotor zones” that paragliders are lectured on being on their alert to avoid.
A fellow pilot witnessed the horror, and told investigators that he tried radioing Silva with advice to action his safety chute.
That did not open, thus investigators say they will now need to check all Silva’s equipment thoroughly.
Lisbon-born, Silva moved to Brazil in 2010, apparently lured by the paragliding fraternity.
According to reports, he was already considered one of the “best” in his area of Ceará, near Fotaleza.