All this afternoon we could hear light aircraft from a nearby aerodrome climbing steadily above us. I assumed they were taking up parachutists, but it was not until we were driving home that we actually saw some. There were three of them, gliding down swiftly on their ‘wings’. About 150 metres above the ground, one of them suddenly began to spiral downwards, plummeting earthwards, apparently out of control. Just as the parachutist was about to hit the ground we drove around a bend in the road and could no longer see what was happening. We drove back to Brussels with that image strong in our minds alongside a burning question: had we just seen a spectacular demonstration of aerobatic skill, or the closing seconds of a ghastly accident?