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  • Writer's pictureLawrence Lore

Balloonist Killed

August 20, 1914 Lawrenceville Republican “Friday morning at the Old Soldiers and Settlers reunion at St Francisville, hundreds of spectators were horrified and unnerved when Clarence E Duncan, a young balloonist of Oakland City fell to instant death as he was making one of the ascensions scheduled among the attractions of the day. The unfortunate young man was a cousin and business partner of A E Duncan of Vincennes, and had made many successful air flights learning his business while in the Army service in the Philippines.


“Owing to the rain Thursday, the ascension advertised for Thursday afternoon was postponed and two flights were arranged for Friday, one for morning and one in the afternoon. The first ascension was made about 11 o’clock and when about 3000 feet from earth the aeronaut attempted to release the parachute but one ring held, and he was forced to descend with the balloon. At about 75 feet from earth Duncan was seen to unfasten his safety belt and swing out to one side. The action released the parachute, already partly open, and it filled with a jerk. Duncan was jarred loose and fell like a stone. His neck and shoulder were broken by the fall and he was dead when picked up. His awful fall was witnessed by his wife who collapsed and was placed under the doctor’s care.


“In order that the people might not be disappointed his cousin and business partner made the afternoon ascent and parachute drop and later went to Vincennes and made burial arrangements for the unfortunate young man.


“The deceased was a member of Co 11, Indiana National Guards of Evansville, which was mustered out of service about a month ago.”


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