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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 193687
Last updated: 29 March 2021
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Date:08-AUG-1891
Time:17:30 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic BALL model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
George Higgins Gas Balloon No.2
Owner/operator:Professor George Higgins
Registration: Unregistered
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Minor
Location:Kirkstall, near Leeds, West Yorkshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Take off
Nature:Private
Departure airport:Kirkstall, near Leeds, West Yorkshire
Destination airport:Roundhay Park, near Leeds, West Yorkshire
Narrative:
Gas Balloon involved in a fatal accident 8/8/1891: Pilot fell from balloon, at Kirkstall, near Leeds. The pilot was Professor George Higgins (aged 39) who was killed. This is presumed to be the same "George Higgins" who parachuted to safety during an earlier accident involving a Gas Balloon, at Burnage, Manchester, on 16/7/1889. The passenger, a Miss de Voy, was unhurt. According to the following newspaper report report in The Times (August 10 1891):

"Epic flight 8 Aug.1891 from Kirkstall, near Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire. Just prior to ascent on a scheduled double-aeronaut para-jump, a strong gust of wind tore a 6-foot hole in the top of the balloon. Flight was also to carry a Miss DeVoy, but bystanders, seeing the damage, pulled her off at the last instant before launch. Pilot, unaware of damage, hit telegraph lines, and broke his back when he fell to the ground. He died later of his injuries."

"FATAL BALLOON "PROFESSOR" HIGGINS KILLED. On Saturday afternoon, at about Half-past five"Professor" Higgins was making an ascent by balloon from Kirkstall, near Leeds, accompanied by Miss De Voy, a serious accident happened. Just as the balloon was about to ascend it was noticed there was a large rent, commencing at the mouth ascending about three feet. One of the persons holding the balloon caught hold of the parachute and gave it a jerk which detached it and thus saved Miss De Voy's life. Higgins, however remained on the bar, and called to those holding the ropes to let go, which they did. As the balloon ascended it drifted to the telegraph wires, and to the consternation of the thousands of spectators Higgins's legs were seen to come in ;contact with the wires. He turned a complete somersault, arid fell to the ground, a distance of 35 feet, striking against a wall in his descent. The infirmary ambulance was telephoned for and Higgins was removed unconscious condition. Before reaching. the institution, however, he died from the injuries. The deceased and Miss De Voy were engaged in connection with the Leeds Hospital gala last Monday and Tuesday and made descents at Roundhay Park. On the Monday the balloon fell among some trees and a number of men, unaccustomed to working with such delicate material, made several rents in it as they pulled it down. Miss De Voy, Higgins and a number of helpers set to work at once, to patch it up, and at midnight the process of refilling the balloon was commenced. On Tuesday, however, gas was found to be escaping so rapidly that it was impossible, and in consequence it was arranged that, rather than cause any disappointment, Miss De Voy would make a parachute descent on Saturday afternoon at half-past four from a spot near the new entrance to Roundhay park, and no charge would be made. This announcement appeared to meet with every satisfaction and Miss De Voy was cheered. It was in the endeavour to fulfil this promise that the fatal accident occurred."

Sources:

1. http://www.rcawsey.co.uk/Acc1916.htm
2. http://www.ballooninghistory.com/whoswho/who'swho-h2.html
3. https://newspapers.library.wales/view/3028250/3028252/27/


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
18-Feb-2017 00:46 Dr.John Smith Added
18-Feb-2017 00:59 Dr.John Smith Updated [Aircraft type, Operator]
08-Aug-2019 20:05 Anon. Updated [Time, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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