Rescue teams today resumed their search for a Birmingham man and his French guide missing high in the Alps after a paragliding accident on Mont Blanc.
According to the local authorities, Brian Simpson and his guide had climbed up the Italian side of the 16,000ft (4,800 metres) mountain on Sunday, planning to drift down into the French valley on the other side.
Climbers nearby at the time reported seeing the paraglider "fold" shortly after they ran off the side of the mountain and took to the air.
Mr Simpson's wife, Sue, a real estate partner at the Birmingham office of law firm Eversheds, raised the alarm when her husband failed to return.
"Eye witnesses have said it folded immediately after take-off," said a spokesman for the Foreign Office.
"Something went wrong and the paraglider went down on the Italian side of the mountain.
"Air searches have been carried out on both the French and the Italian sides from early on Sunday to Monday evening."
The spokesman added that a ground search on foot of the Italian side in an area known as the Brenva was also carried out on Tuesday, but that had to be called off because of bad weather.
No sign of either man has yet been found and mountain rescue teams fear the pair may have slipped into a crevasse.
The Foreign Office spokesman said the search would resume as soon as the weather improved.
Paragliding has become an extremely popular sport in the Alps, with no experience required for a trip with an instructor. It is not known whether Mr Simpson was an experienced paraglider or not.
David Wootton, from the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, said accidents during tandem paragliding flights were very rare.
"It is very rare that an accident happens during a tandem flight, because you are with a fully qualified instructor," he said.
"Folding happens occasion-ally. Air turbulance can cause a collapse and this is why you generally go up very early in the morning or in the evening when it is cooler and there are
fewer rising air thermals." He said Mr Simpson could have climbed up any part of the Mont Blanc Massif, probably at dawn, and paraglided off it instead of walking down.
Sue Lewis, senior office partner at Eversheds, said: "This is obviously devastating news and our thoughts are with Sue and her family at this difficult time. We will give the family all our support."