Norwalk, CT. – October 17, 1907

Norwalk, Connecticut – October 17, 1907

     On October 17, 1907, well known aeronaut Charles Jewell of Canton, Ohio, was performing balloon ascensions and parachute drops in Norwalk.  In one instance, the balloon rose to the desired altitude and Jewell dropped away.  All was going well until he approached the ground and realized that the breeze was carrying him towards some railroad tracks, and at that moment the Boston Express train was speeding along in his direction.  Realizing that he was going to land directly in front of the oncoming train, he let loose of his parachute and dropped forty feet to the ground.  He’d aimed for some bushes, but missed, and struck a fence instead, and was seriously injured.  Meanwhile the parachute landed directly in front of the train and was ground to pieces.      

     Speaking about past mishaps in his career, Jewell was later quoted as saying, “My parachute has failed to open, my gas bag has caught fire and I have passed through thunderstorms, but give me all of them in preference to an express train.  My only chance was to drop.  I tried to land in some bushes, but I struck a fence.  The parachute could have been used for confetti after the express passed over it.”


     The Waterbury Democrat, “Train Blocks Parachutist – It was jump or be ground to pieces”, October 19, 1907

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