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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 193323
Last updated: 15 February 2021
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Date:29-JUN-1856
Time:19:00 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic BALL model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Ville de París (City of Paris) Gas Balloon
Owner/operator:Matías Pérez
Registration: Unregistered
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Aircraft missing
Location:Gulf of Mexico, North of Havana -   Cuba
Phase: En route
Nature:Private
Departure airport:Plaza de Marte (Parque Central), Havana
Destination airport:local
Narrative:
The famous French pilot Eugène Godard, who flew his balloon Ville de París (City of Paris) many times in the island of Cuba, before selling it to Matías Péres for 1,200 pesos. Godard was a reputed balloon pilot and builder. He built his first prototype in 1845, and launched several models within the following year. Godard had constructed a balloon called Ville de París in 1850, in which he gained notoriety on October 6 by flying from Paris to Gits.

The aircraft Matías Pérez would buy in 1856 was also called Ville de París. Whether this was the same balloon is disputed since there exists an eyewitness report that the original was destroyed by fire in Marseille just a month after its famous flight.

Once Matías procured the ship, he sought permission to fly it from Havana, Cuba, in a letter to Captain General José Gutiérrez de la Concha. The first flight took place on June 12, 1856 with excellent atmospheric conditions.

The second flight took place on June 29, 1856. Local newspapers reported that the wind was strong the day the flight was scheduled, causing Matías to delay his ascent. He finally decided to ascend at sunset around 7:00 pm. However, as the weather was getting worse, Matías and the people around him hesitated. In spite of the S.E powerful winds and being aware of the dangers, he insisted on the departure since he was unwilling to disappoint the expectation of thousands of people that patiently waited for some hours to see him braving the elements.

As darkness was replacing the glow of the day, the air-hot balloon quickly rose up and headed North-west. According to the men of the garrison, the latest news informed that Matias went over a place which at present is called “El Castillo de la Chorrera” (The Castle of Frill). The balloon was last seen at dusk, on the north coast of Havana, headed north over the ocean.

By order of Spanish general José Gutiérrez de la Concha - the colonial head and Captain General of Cuba at the time, a meticulous search took place in all the corners of the provinces of Pinar del Rio and Havana. No trace of the aerostat or Perez were found.

His disappearance earned him a place in Cuban history and popular culture. It coined the popular century-old phrase "Voló como Matías Pérez" (Flew like Matías Pérez) used in occasions when a person wants make emphasis about some other missing person or object.

Sources:

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matias_Perez#Interest_in_aeronautics_and_famous_flights
2. http://www.radioenciclopedia.cu/cultural-news/curiosities/flew-away-like-matias-perez-20121006/
3. http://havanareporternews.com/culture/weird-disappearances.html
4. http://www.check-six.com/lib/Famous_Missing/Perez-1856.htm

Media:

GLOBOdeMatiasPerez1 Possible photo of Matias Perez (center) and French pilot Eugene Godard (right) aboard the balloon "Ville de Paris" (built in 1850).

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
06-Feb-2017 14:59 Dr.John Smith Added
15-Jul-2017 15:09 TB Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Narrative]
16-Jul-2017 13:20 TB Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
15-Nov-2018 17:29 Dr.John Smith Updated [Date, Registration, Cn, Operator, Location, Phase, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
15-Nov-2018 17:43 Dr.John Smith Updated [Aircraft type]
31-Jan-2020 10:39 Anon. Updated [Damage]

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