Waterville, ME Airship Accident, Sept 1908 - Falls from Airship





Drops of Five Hundred Feet and Life Crushed Out at Waterville, Me. - Known as Daring Aeronaut.

WATERVILLE, Me., Sept. 2. - In full view of 2,500 horrified spectators assembled on the Central Maine fair grounds here today, CHARLES OLIVER JONES, the well known aeronaut of Hamilton, N.Y., fell a distance of 500 feet to his death. Among witnesses of the frightful plunge were Mrs. Jones and child and they were the first to reach the dying man. The aeronaut died and hour and a half after the accident.

Jones has been at the fair grounds with his drigible [sic] balloon, Boomerang, since Monday. He arranged to make a flight between 3 and 4 o'clock, but the strong wind prevented. However, at 4:30 he word to have the machine released. When the aeronaut reached a height of more than 500 feet the spectators were amazed to see small tongues of flames issuing from under the gas bag in front of the motor. Many persons endeavored to apprise Jones of his danger, but several minutes elapsed before he noticed the fire. Then he grasped the rip cord, and by letting out gas endeavored to reach the earth. The machine descended but a short distance when a sudden burst of flame enveloped the gas bag, and the framework. Jones fell from the framework of his motor. The physicians found that Jones had no chance to survive, as he was injured internally and his spine was broken. Jones had trouble with his balloon yesterday on account of cold weather Monday night which caused a number of leaks through the contraction of the gas bag. It is thought the bag leaked again today and a spark from the motor caused the disaster.

Made Mark as an Aeronaut.

HAMMONDSPORT, N.Y., Sept., - Charles Oliver Jones was among the youngest aeronauts, but his work marked him as one of the most successful in aerial navigation. He came here a year ago from Cincinnati with some entirely new ideas with regard to airships and joined Alexander Graham Bell in the experiments of aeroplanes. It was Jones who evolved the famous "June bug," which won the scientific trophy for the heavier-than-air machine, attaining a speed of thirty miles an hour against the wind. It was Jones; intention to go to the experiment station in Nova Scotia with Lieutenant Selfridge of the United States signal corps to work on a new aeroplane.

NEW YORK, Sept. 2. - News of the death of CHARLES O. JONES, the aeronaut, shocked his friends in this city, but did not surprise them, for Jones has literally courted death while giving exhibitions at amusement parks in the vicinity of New York. No more daring sky pilot ever made an ascension.

The Nebraska State Journal, Lincoln, NE 3 Sept 1908