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HORROR-STRICKEN SPECTATORS. HE IS DROWNED AT SEA. [OHITID PBESa ASSOCIATION.] Ghbistghuboh, November 2. Captain Lorraine, the aeronaut, whose exhibitions have created great interest in Ohristchurch, was tendered a benefit this afternoon. The Mayor and most of the prominent citizens afforded their patronage, and the exhibition was splendidly organised. In expressing his thanks to the citizens for their generosity, Lorraine said he had determined that on this occasion he would attempt to surpass all his previous efforts in ballooning. He proposed, if the conditions were favorable, to mount higher than ever, and vary the graceful parachute descent by evolutions on a suspended trapeze. The ascent was announced for four o'clock this afternoon, and there was a large gathering of spectators. Lorraine himself was in the gayest mood. Everything seemed to favour him in his adventure. The afternoon was warm, and the clouds tempered the glare and heat of the sun. Not till he was about to ascend did the wind threaten to rise. The " Empress " balloon was well filled with gas, the Captain himself securing the parachute by a slender tape to a ring at the side, halfway up the netting. The trapeze was brought to him as he stood beneath the balloon by his wife, and, as soon as the lady was clear, Capt. Lorraine cried, "Now then, gentlemen, let her go." Up shot the globe, but a ory of horror went up from the spectators, for the parachute, by some means, had broken free and hung below. It filled out and prevented the balloon from rising. For a few moments the Captain clung to it, but the strain was too great, and horror was depicted on the faces of all the spectators when the bundle of silk collapsed and fluttered to the earth. Then the balloon bounded up with a great rush, and the rising northwest wind carried it strongly towards Sumner. The Captain appeared to be drawing the netting down on one side, aud to be climbing up to the silk. Then it was remembered that he had no knife with him—that he had had to borrow one to cut a string before* hand. His only chauce seemed to rely on his own nerve and strength. If he could turn the balloon over elightly so as to allow the gas to escape gradually he would descend. The great globe travelled away for half an hour, growing smaller and smaller, and it became evident that the Captain had gone out past the coast line. When at last it really seemed that the balloon was collapsing and that it was acting as a parachute— though u poor one— folk breathed easier, By a quarter to five the black speck against the sky was no longer viaible, and the fate of the aeronaut became a matter for conjecture. The signalman at the Harbor Board's station at the Heads, who had been watching the aeronaut, saw him fall into the water near the Port Levy xocks,' and telephoned, and a message waa sent to Captain Clark, the Harbor Master, who at once deppatohed a tug. The signalmen also launched their dingy, while arrangements were made for launching the, Sumner lifeboat by Pilot Day. A message received from the Heads stated that Captain Lorraine sat for Borne time on the balloon, which remained buoyant in the water. The balloon subsequently sank, and on latest advices the balloonist was swimming towards the Heads, from which two boats were proceeding. At 5.30 Captain Clarke received a message from the pilot station that Captain Lorraine was seen to disappear in the water. A boat from the station pulled over the npot, but discovered nothing of the missing man. The tug returned at 6.40, having seen no signs of him, and thsre seems little doubt but that Lorraine was drowned. [Captain Lorraine, who has been making sensational ascents in Wellington and Chiistohurch, was about 25 years of age, and scaled about list 71b. He was burn in Auckland, and was a dentist before he took to aeronautics as a profession. Only last March he married Miss Juries, a Ohristchuroh lady. He made his first ascent at the age of nineteen years, and afterwards gave exhibitions in England, France,, Germany, and Russia. He had never met with any serious accident, bis worst injury being a sprained wrist. The other day at Ohristchurch he went up about two miles in a little over two minutes. He had fallen into the water on several occasions, having to swim. It was only a few days ago that an interviewer asked him— *' Supposing you dropped far out at sea, what would youjio then?" His reply was— " Well, I'd just have to swim as long as I could."]

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Bibliographic details

BALLOON SENSATION., Marlborough Express, Volume XXXIV, Issue 259, 3 November 1899

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BALLOON SENSATION. Marlborough Express, Volume XXXIV, Issue 259, 3 November 1899

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