Accident Windham Sadler Gas balloon Unregistered, 29 Sep 1824
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 193590
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Type:Windham Sadler Gas balloon
Owner/operator:William Windham Sadler
Registration: Unregistered
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Parsonage Field Church, Blackburn, Lancashire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:Blackburn, Lancashire
Destination airport:Bolton, Lancashire
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
Basket hit a chimney after a premature launch from a field at Parsonage Field Church, Blackburn, Lancashire, 29 September 1924. The pilot was thrown out and hung by his foot from the anchor rope for some time before falling to the ground from a considerable height.

Pilot - William Windham Sadler (aged 28) killed; passenger James Donnelly injured. According to a contemporary newspaper report ("Bolton Chronicle" Saturday, October 9, 1824):

"BALLOONS.- We perceive in the detailed account of the melancholy catastrophe which caused. the death of Mr. Wm. Windham Sadler, on Wednesday the 29th ult. given in the Bolton Express of last Saturday, that the writer of the article cannot associate any usefulness with the construction of a balloon, and he expressed a hope that "the frequency of such fatal terminations to ascents of this description, will induce legislatorial interference to prevent them altogether."

No one possessed of a spark of humanity can but feel the most heartfelt regret that an accident of so serious a nature should have occurred, and we avail ourselves of this opportunity of evincing our sincere sympathy with the relatives of the deceased for the irreparable loss they have sustained, being well informed of the merits Mr. Sadler possessed; but that the utility of such experiments should be questioned, or that so earnest a wish as that of the interposition of the Legislature, is what we must as earnestly trust will never take place.

If we contemplate the disasters that have very often taken place in the early period of using steam-engines, we might then, with much greater reason have signified an earnest desire, from the magnitude of their effects, that they should have been prohibited; and supposing our wishes to have been then realized, we should have lost advantages of the highest importance to some of the best interests of this country.

What applies to steam-engines it must be confessed does not, to any thing like an equal extent, apply to balloons; we must not, however, suppose that a very considerable advantage cannot he derived from their use, more particularly in a military point of view; we have a remarkable instance on record of the French having gained the celebrated battle of Fleurus, through. the observations made by an engineer who ascended in a balloon to determine the different positions of the Austrian army.

Suppose enterprizes of this description were not undertaken by persons of the character of the late justly lamented aeronaut) many valuable observations in philosophy would be lost to the world, and the science and art used in effecting aerial voyages might probably so much cease to be studied, that improvements and means of preventing such disasters might wholly be lost sight of. The fact we think may be taken for granted, that although aerostation has been brought to considerable perfection, as the thirty previous ascents of Mr. Sadler will alone clearly prove, yet a sufficient degree of ingenuity has not yet been applied to secure a safe descent.

It appears to us that aeronauts have not been sufficiently attentive to the choosing an open common or space for landing; we have so many instances of the grappling irons failing in their operation, that we may assert more attention to this point, and a facility of rapidly discharging the gas, might render the descent of a balloon nearly as safe as the sudden stopping of a carriage; and it is well established that by the judicious use of a previously expanded parachute, a person will come to the ground without the smallest shock or injury."


3. The Man with His Head in the Clouds: James Sadler, The First Englishman to Fly
7. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: Sadler, (William) Windham (1796 - 1824, balloonist and gas engineer by H.S. Torrens).
8. The Edinburgh Magazine & Literary Miscellany, Volume 94, October 1824 - On the death of Mr W.W. Sadler the aeronaut.
9. Davies, Mark - King of All Balloons: The Adventurous Life of James Sadler, The First English Aeronaut. Amberley Publishing. 2015.
10. The Gentleman's Magazine, Vol. 94 Pt. 2. Vol. 136 - November 1824 - Obituary Mr Wm. Windham Sadler.
11. London St James Chronicle and General Evening Post (Newspaper), October 2, 1824 - Death of Mr Sadler
12.The Edinburgh Annual Register, Vol. 17, 1824 - Coroner's Inquest on Mr Sadler.
13. The Kaleidoscope: or, Literary and Scientific Mirror Vol V. No.223 October 5th 1824, pages 116 - 117 &120


Revision history:

14-Feb-2017 18:47 Dr.John Smith Added
12-May-2023 06:01 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Category]

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