Port Stanley, ON Balloon Accident, Jul 1923


Hope Held Out Lieut. T. B. Null May Be Alive.


Null May Have Given Self as Human Ballast.

Airplanes and Water Craft Hunting for Balloonist, Following Finding of Pilot on Lake Erie.

PORT STANLEY, Ont., July 10.---- Search for Lieut. T. B. Null, missing from the ill-fated United States navy balloon A-6698, was redoubled today following discovery of the body of Lieut. L. J. Roth, his companion, fourteen miles off Port Stanley in Lake Erie yesterday.

Airplanes and all manner of watercraft took up the search with the hope of finding the missing airman still alive. As long as Lieutenant Null is missing there is a chance that he may not be dead, authorities here declared.

The body of Lieutenant Roth, found floating in the basket of the air monster, by the fishing boat Onajag and brought into Port Stanley, was taken to Cleveland last night by Lieut. James H. Strong in an hydro-airplane.

Lieutenant Null stripped himself of his clothing and leaped into Lake Erie early Saturday morning in a vain effort to save the balloon, authorities here declared they believed after an investigation of the basket in which Lieutenant Roth's body was tied.

The balloon was struck by a furious storm while flying over Lake Erie, it was believed. The airmen were blown dangerously close to the foaming crest of the lake and in an effort to send their craft above the storm and save it from being wrecked in the open water, miles from any port, the balloonists threw out all ballast and articles of any weight.

The massive gas bag rose but the fury of the storm again drove it down. The two lieutenants threw away everything save a few tubes of food. The balloon still hovered just above the water.

Null, an officer of the U. S. navy and honoring its traditions, fastened on a life belt and hurled himself into the stormy waters--gave himself as human ballast.

Whether he was able to save himself in the storm is yet to be learned.

The Evening State Journal and Lincoln Daily News, Lincoln, NE 10 Jul 1923