Ballooning can never be of practical utility

EXCITING BALLOON ADVENTURE

ANOTHER M.P. IN PERIL

An exciting narrative of ballooning exploit is communicated by Mr. Pendarves Vivian, member for West Cornwall, to the Western Morning News. With two skilled aeronauts he ascended from South-west London, the start being delayed by unfavourable weather until 10 p.m. They found themselves in a strong current, which in ten minutes had placed them over North London, the lights below presenting a fairy scene of indescribable beauty. Though over 1,000 feet high street cries were distinctly audible. Ascending rapidly to 8,000 feet in an hour they found themselves passing at a tremendous rate over a flat country suitable for descending, and they resolved to come down. Gas was let out and grappling irons dropped, when there was a sharp check and violent jerks, and suddenly they commenced soaring upwards at a frightful pace. The rope of the grappling irons had broken. The danger of so helpless a position, especially at night, was instantly apparent, and shortly afterwards a renewed descent was made hoping to run the balloon against some branches of trees.

When this was done one got out, and the two relieved of his weight were carried upwards with extreme velocity to a height of three miles. Half stunned by the shock, and deaf from the rarification of the air, some time elapsed before renewed descent was attempted, when, to their horror, they heard the roaring of the sea immediately below them. Fortunately they found themselves approaching the shore from the sea, over which they had unconsciously been sailing, but had in descending come into a landward current.

Arrived near the ground they struck not twenty yards from from the sea shore, and after dragging several hundred yards, receiving severe concussions from hedges, they simultaneously let go, and the balloon soared aloft leaving them in darkness in an unknown country, subsequently discovered to be ten miles from Lowestoft, having reached there in three hours from London. No permanent injuries were received by the party, but Mr. Vivian’s experience convinced him that ballooning can never be of practical utility as a means of travelling, and that to render ascents approximately safe duplicate grappling irons, with spring buffers and other appliances must be carried.

The Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury, Saturday 31 December 1881

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Filed under Aeronautical Adventures, Narrow Escapes

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