Barnstable, MA – September 2, 1907

Barnstable Massachusetts – September 2, 1907

     On September, 2, 1907, Professor Maloney, a balloonist, was scheduled to give an exhibition at the Barnstable County Fair.  The show was to include an ascent in his balloon, followed by a parachute jump. 

     As the balloon rose to altitude, Maloney was in a seat suspended underneath, intending to cut the ropes holding it in place to allow it to fall, thereby letting the parachute deploy.  However, at the height of 2,000 feet, a strong wind took the rope connected to the knife, and flung it into a group of cords connected to the balloon where it became entangled.   Maloney was now unable to reach the knife, and found himself in a precarious situation.  He was couldn’t descend, for he had not control over the balloon, and he was unable to drop with his parachute because he couldn’t cut himself away.   He was now at the mercy of the wind.        

     The balloon drifted for two miles when Maloney realized the gas was rapidly leaking from the envelope.  He began to loose altitude, slowly at first, then faster and faster.   Looking down,  all he could do was watch the earth loom closer knowing there was no way to slow his descent.  All he could hope for was something to provide a soft landing.

     As he neared the ground portions of the now almost deflated balloon draped around him preventing him from seeing where he was falling. Just as he was to impact the ground, the seat struck a cedar fence post, which somewhat broke his fall.  As he crashed to the ground he suffered serious back and arm injuries, but he was alive.   

     A long line of automobiles had given chase from the fair, and arrived at the scene of the crash.  Maloney was taken in a semi-conscious condition to his hotel in downtown Barnstable where he was treated by a doctor who determined he would recover.   

     Source: The Butler Weekly Times, “Fell 2,000 Feet Upon A Post”, September 5, 1907

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