Over the weekend, Patrick Sandeman, the 53 year-old co-owner of Lea & Sandeman wine merchants which has been called the best wine shop in London, died after crashing into a French skydiver (causing the pair’s parachutes to collapse) 50 feet from the ground. The incident happened above the Sibson airfield, near Peterborough, Cambs. The 28 year-old French skydiver was air lifted to Cambridge where he remains in a serious condition with severe spinal and lower leg injuries.
Witnesses are saying that conditions were still and sunny but there appeared to be too many skydivers in the air – a charge the skydiving company (UK Parachuting) is denying. The British Parachuting Association (BPA) along with Cambridgeshire Police are conducting a “board of inquiry” but a spokesman for the former has already stated that there is nothing to suggest that there were too many people in the air at the same time.
A parachuting coach who was waiting to board the aircraft was also quoted in the Telegraph as saying that there was a "normal number of people jumping" due to restrictions on the aircraft but parts of Sandeman’s and the French skydiver’s parachutes got tangled as they were moving and collapsed – causing both to fall too the ground (The French skydiver managed to land on his feet).
Sandeman was a fixture in the UK wine scene for some thim as his multi-million pound wine business was established in 1988 with partner Charles Lea and now has four locations in Chelsea, Kensington, Barnes and Chiswick, west London. He had also been named the London Merchant of the Year several years in in a row.