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Donaldson

Donaldson image
Parent Issue
Day
10
Month
September
Year
1875
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

lvhe Cincinnati Enquircr gives soms intcresting extracts from a diaiy left by Washington H. Donalilson, the ill-fated balloonist : In dtanrifeiiLg the thrilliug and blood-Curclliüg event tlint ocfeiirreil in ftn ascensión tonde from Norfölk, Va.; oa the lfith ddy öf Jahuary, 1872; jve wil! siiuply quote Donaldson's 'd wn Won 1 s. At 4:80, tile ftrtloSB being full, the aertmilut etep'ped forward and grasped Üle trapeze bar, gave his orders to cast loose the ropes, wnëü the balloon went up and off very rapidly : " The balloon ascended with a cfilm steculy motioi). When abont SOGíefethighí Mt.Üitöiigh TÍtíi.my p'etíó'rmánftíSi Af ter being in the iü r alul fííteen minutes I thought ít 'was timo to descend, and pulled the valve rope to allow the gas to escape. The valve ilid not open, and I pulled agüin ; it still remained closed ; I had no time to lose, the ooeftn wnsneur, 1 pulled led with botli bands ; ilgrtin ft failure. I i then gnVc ft Strongi steftdy jerlt. tliere was a sharp, hissing sound, as if made j Ut tlië ieániig of cloth, followed by a I nïfjhiiig noise ; then I knew that the i balloon liad burst. The balloon did not collapse, being prevented from doing so by the rustí of air from beneath, -but ! nlosed ï'p tt the rides ; the ballocn, j svvaying from pide, to side, descended with frightful velocity. I clung with all i my streugth to the hoop ; I could not ( teil how bad I was frightcned, but I j feit as though my hair had all been i dvawn out. I scarcely hnd time to realizo tlint I was nlivc- I was so frightí'ued ,' but with a crash, tearing and írushiug, I was projected with the' j lócity of a catapult into a bur chestmit tree. The netting and rigging, ing in the tree, checked my velocity, md I had my grasp jerked loose, and n-as precipitated througli the limbs, and landed flat wpon my back, with my tights nearly torn off, and my legs, irms, and botly lacerated and bleeding." Aftel' his f all he soon rallied, and was lumself again, and proceeded to imcuediately examine his balloon, when he :liscovered a rent extending from top to bottom. He packed it up, and left it with a Mr. Newman, and in his brnised condition walked five miles back to Norfolk. On Jan. 22, 1872, Donaldson made anitlier ascensión from Norfolk in the balioon "Cornet," butencountered the most Eearful descent upon record where a man same out alive. We give the aeronaut's Dwn account of his thrilling adventure : "Af ter cutting the basket loose the balloon darted up very rapidly. I pulled the Tlve-rope and oponed the valve, but the gas escaped too slowly. I was then almost to the water's edge, and going at the rate of a niile a minute. Quick work must be done or a watery grave. I had either to ent a hole in the balloon or go to sea, and as there were no boats or vessels in sight I chose the lesser evil. Seizing three of the cords I swung out of I the ring into the netting, tl ie balloon careeniug on her side. I cíimbed half way up the netting, opened my kuif e with my teeth, and cut a hole about two f eet long. The instant I cut the hole the gas rnshed out so fast that I could scarcely get back to the ring. I carne near being suffocated, but I managed to get back to the ring, though half stupefied. After reaching the ring I lashed myself fast to it with a rope. While I was cutting the hole in the side of the balloon my caf feil off, tind so fast did I descend that before I got lialf way down I caught up with and passed the cap. Continuing to descend, I strack the ground in a large cornfield, xnd was dragged nearly a thousand feet, the wind blowing a perfect gale. Crashing against a rail fence, I was rendered insensible. When I carne to I found myself lianging to one side of a tree and the balloon to the other side, ripped to shreds. I could liave thrown a sttne into the ocean from where I landed, and the tree on whieh I was a hanging was the last one on the land. After resting myself, I concluded to ciimb the tree and get the fragmenta of my balloon. bnfc j on attempting this feat one of the ! imbs of the trco broke, and I had a fall of about fifteen faet, knocking the bseeth out of me. " On this trip I traversed ten miles in se ven minutes; the balloon was emphatically in ribbons. " Donaldson thus describes an ascensión which he made from Chillicothe, Ohio, April 29, 1872 : " When the balloon was loosened I saw that it would strike against tlie wall of Lansing's drug-slore, and I put my feet out ; thcy struck the building with graat violeuee. After strilting the b.illoon roRe, then the ring struck the wall and was almost doubled ; passing over the roof I was dragged over the ehimncy, tearing off sixteen layers of brick. I was almost instantly hurled against a seoond öhimney, tearing a munter of bricks from that'also. I thought once I would let loose and drop, but concluded to hold on, as there were no more objeets for me tí) come in contact with. I rose to the height of a mil e or over. Finding myself much exbausted and bruised, I was not in x conditioo to go through my perförmaBce m the trapeze; I therëforè conchided that Lor my o-ai safetv, tlu best thing I could do was to descend. In looking for the ï'ope to eiuible me to do tliin IwftS ilifiap! pointinl in llndinj it Bttt f Öw reftcn; aad it wnfi Wif h Híffltiúlljrl úouMdimb io Mie éönccntrating ring to reach it. I rinally sucpeeded, howeyer, and puiling . the rope, descended rupidly, landing in a field belonging to a Mr. itonae landing was Vety rotlgli, and i rabounded tWf b'jiies, striking first a stone wflii, then a tree, and theu a fonce, to wliicli j last I succoeded in fastening my pápese rope. I wils tlien driveu in acnrring t the Emmitt HouSÖ, p'ivsicia.n3 were QHUedi Uiiil upon examination theyfound that my ankle was sprained, my leg scratched and bruisod, and my phoulder badly injured. My injuries not boing of a sorkms character, T n-on ble to ue out in. foyr dSJ?B. ' The daring air-navigator liad another narrow escape froin death dnring an ascensión from Keading, Pa. Wc quote from the diary : "Assoon os 1 hml .frtvHj ble.ünd the qntskirtS'.'f iiiu city I climbed up into tlio ring, took hold of the valve ropo, and gave it a vigorous pull. It resisted my eiForts for gome tilín', nnüi í"a)!y A stïong ierk tto n Ji'qlS in the eilk, and Wie gS oegan escaping at a fearful rate. The balloon feil with ajípallixig rapidity, the rent iucreasing as tlio gas oBcnpi'd, until it was torn ueatly tlil'eti-foui-tUR et ' tho leugth of the bttlloófii Hti.i ttib Iftifeï waa tin-nol pi.j'liiüij ihside ova. wHife ! thUSMiiiin-wif'i si'ich velocitv; tl' (SU íttiin, vrttlier tUe hooj) jmd frj-, BtrtK Wt tKji BI ':': ffiJgS Liêe m toe j Swamp in ' Buzzard Neck,' on Tanner's I I creek, wliich broke tho force of the fall i Hiid let me down at a considerable less I ; velocity, bnt still hard enough to fiive ! iu' i h'i'iíble siilftkinK-." . ! i Mis aftèöttó oí úi Hfip fijisio'ii irbiü blli-tf! .:! tiie Wi oi July, 1872, is the most thrilling of all. We givc the story in his o-vn words : "Ilmdno trouble in filling, and all was ready by half -past 11; the ropes I were out, and up X went, perforttlillg my fOfttS tlpüii ble trftpefte Í)íü-; A.t tíie tógSt of íi miles Í WaS wifiotiinicil laïge bedieö of lüiicls, mul n beginning tflBuffeï fiTim the inti'Hsü .ebld; üjja nMcbi'nri tiie higher stentas 1 wns ciivjcii eflüstwrd Í3ver Iiákp Michigan, Not knowing the geography of the country, I was al'raid to cross the lake. I piilled the valve open quick, and tied it to the ring. It was fully twenty minutes alter I pulled the valve before the balloon be#an to deseeöd ftr1 afvttf'k tile Witter. A hea-y breeze was bloring that dragged me through the water rapidly enough to keep pace with an outward-going passenger train. Not knowing whotlier they saw me or not, I took out my pocket handkerchief, squeezed it as dry au I could, and waved it nt theni) and inHtantly it Was retiponded to by ihundrcd li!UKlk'lv,lii('t's fluttering fldni tiie winAovÏB: ï sihcë leitrned that the interest manifested by the passengerd was heartfelt and intense. As the cars ran into Kenwood Station -the balloon approached tlie shore, driven at perilous speed. I was iinnlly brt'uglit up gainst a stone pier, striking with fearful force, and bounded up only to come down again in the surf, wheiv 1 was dcagged üko a bullet skipping the water to the shore, and landed upon a pile of stones, nearly breaking my ribs. I was numb and aenseleas fromcold, and could notspeak. I wfls picked p by tiie kiud people aud placed in bed, ruï)bed with dry towels, and kindly cared for. I Boon railied, and was enabled to reach Chicago that eveniug- "The force of the water tore my fcraveling-bag open that I had ticd to the ring, and a new suit of clothes and $120 li moiiey Wafl lost in the lake. I passed a propeller, and had I not been waist deep in the water I would have far eclipsed the train in speed. "

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Subjects
Old News
Michigan Argus