St. Louis, MO Amateur Aviator Killed, May 1912



St. Louis, May 13. -- RAY WHEELER, an amateur aviator at Kinloch Park, is dead, and PETE GLASSER, a companion, is in St. Luke's Hospital probably fatally injured, as the result of a plunge into a telegraph pole at the aviation field tonight.
The accident occurred when the aeroplane was caught in a whirlwind about 100 feet from the earth. The force of air dashed the machine among the poles and wires of a trolley line before GLASSER, who was steering had time to take the machine upward out of danger.
Dr. E. M. Bell, an aviator, had just descended to warn them of dangerous air conditions when WHEELER and GLASSER rose. He tried to signal them to come down, but could not make himself understood. Dr. Bell and Tony Jannus rushed to the wrecked aeroplane. WHEELER and GLASSER had been thrown thirty feet from the machine and the gasoline tank, which was exploded by the collision, had set fire to the wreckage. The pole which they struck, was broken into three pieces.
WHEELER, whose skull was crushed, in addition to other injuries, died on a special car sent to the scene. Every attention was given to GLASSER after he was put on the car, and he was met by ambulances and surgeons. Surgeons at St. Luke's Hospital said he had suffered internal injuries and a possible fracture of the skull.
"The accident was due to no fault of aviator or machine," said Dr. Bell tonight. "I was in the air myself, and needed twenty-one minutes to make a safe landing. I was sure after I saw the position that WHEELER and GLASSER were in that they would be wrecked."

New York Times New York 1912-05-14


Tony Jannus

At the time this story was written Tony Jannus (mentioned in the story) was a test pilot for the Benoist Aircraft Company. At that time the was one of the leading airplane manufacturers in the world. A few months before the accident in the story he flew the first parachute drop from an airplane. When the world's first airlines, St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line, flew it's first flight Tony Jannus was the pilot and flying a Benoist flying boat carried the world's first airline passenger across Tampa Bay.