Lewiston, ME – September 5, 1906

Lewiston, Maine – September 5, 1906

     On September 5, 1906, two aeronauts, Carl Smith, of Brocton, Massachusetts, and Ida Merrill, of Boston, were scheduled to give a balloon exhibition/parachute jump at the Maine State Fair, during which the balloon would rise and each would  drop with a parachute.

     As the balloon began to ascend above a crowd of 2,000 spectators, both made preparations to jump.   They climbed out of the gondola and onto two trapezes suspended beneath.  Each trapeze was connected to a parachute.  Just after Smith sat on his trapeze and released his parachute line, one of the ropes to his trapeze broke, and he fell about 125 to the ground landing amidst the crowd.  Nobody on the ground was injured.    

     Smith broke several bones in the fall and was transported to a hospital in what was reported as an “insensible condition”, and was not expected to live. 

     Police later examined the ropes to his trapeze and determined they’d been partially cut prior to the performance, and announced they were looking for two men they suspected of the deed.  

     Merrill landed safely, but came down in a wooded area not far away.

     Despite his severe injuries, Smith recovered from his ordeal.  One year later he was back at the fair grounds to give another performance.  


     The Nashua Telegraph, “Serious Accident On Fair Grounds In Maine”, September 6, 1906 

     New York Times, “Balloonist Falls 125 Feet; Trapeze Rope Breaks And he Crashes To Ground”, September 5, 1906

     The Utica Herald-Dispatch & Daily Gazette, “Aeronaut Falls; Say Rope Was Cut”, September 6, 1906, Pg. 1

     Lewiston Evening Journal, “Balloon Ascension – One Of Best Ever Seen On Grounds – Carl Smith The Aeronaut”, September 3, 1907

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