North Adams, MA. – September 5, 1921

North Adams, Massachusetts – September 5, 1921


     On September 5, 1921, Eugene M. Stafford of Boston, was scheduled to perform a double parachute drop from his balloon at a fair in North Adams.  Once the balloon had reached an altitude above 1,000 feet, Stafford made his leap, and his first parachute opened successfully.  At 600 feet, he cut away from the first parachute, and attempted to deploy the second, but the harness he was wearing that was attached to both chutes suddenly separated and he fell away.  He fell to the ground and was killed.


     Hartford Courant, (Conn.) “Balloonist Killed Doing Double Parachute Jump”, September 6, 1921

Brockton, MA – October 6, 1915

Brockton, Massachusetts – October 6, 1915 


   balloon  On the afternoon of October 6, 1915, two men, Emil Olsen, and Berton Eager, were scheduled to give performances at the Brockton Fair by jumping from a balloon using parachutes.  Eager went first, rising to the appointed altitude and making a successful drop.

     About an hour later it was Olsen’s turn.  As an estimated crowd of 35,000 people looked on, Olsen rose from the fairgrounds after declaring that he was going to do his friend “one better”.   His plan was to jump using four parachutes, only using one at a time. 

     After the balloon had risen to several thousand feet, Olsen made his jump.  The first parachute opened perfectly, which he then dropped away from and opened the second, which also opened as it should.  The third did likewise, but for some reason the fourth failed to open while Olsen was still about 5,000 feet in the air.  At first the crowd though it was all part of the act, but after a few seconds realized something was wrong.  Olsen plummeted to the ground and landed in an open area just outside the fairgrounds.   

     Mr. Olsen was 22-years-old, and lived at 244 Shawmut Avenue, Boston, Mass.

     Source: Vermont Phoenix, “Killed At Brockton Fair”, October 8, 1915

Lynn, MA – May 11, 1912

Lynn, Massachusetts – May 11, 1912


    balloon On May 11, 1912, famous aeronaut, Professor Clarence C. Bonette, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, was scheduled to give a performance at Lynn, Mass.  Bonette’s plan was to rise to a predetermined height in his balloon, and then drop using a parachute.  He began his ascension from the intersection of Spring and Washington Streets, and when he’d reached an altitude of 10,000 feet over the area of High Rock, he decided to make his drop. 

     As soon as he began his descent it was apparent that the parachute wasn’t working right, and within seconds Bonette had lost control.  He crash-landed on the roof of a home belonging to Fred Campbell on Bay View Avenue before sliding off and hitting the ground. 

     The professor suffered several broken bones in the accident.

     For more information about Professor Bonette, see the article “C. C. Bonette – Early Vermont Aeronaut” under “ARTICLES” on this website.


     The Barre Daily Times, (Vt.) “Prof. C. C. Bonette Hurt In 10,000 Foot Drop”,  May 13, 1912, Page 2.           

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