Rockville, CT. – September 19, 1911

Rockville, Connecticut – September 19, 1911

Rockville is a village within the town of Vernon, Connecticut.

     On September 19, 1911, a balloon ascension and double parachute drop was scheduled to take place at the Rockville Fair in the Rockville section of Vernon.  The two parachutists were identified as “Eddie” Berlinger of Woonsocket, Rhode island, and Professor Marsh, address unknown.  Each was to use more than one parachute in their jump, cutting away from one before deploying another.  

     When the time came, the balloon began to ascend with both men aboard, but after rising to an altitude of several hundred feet it began to descend because it wasn’t buoyant enough to support the weight of both men.   As the balloon began to fall, Berlinger made his jump.  His first parachute opened successfully, but after cutting away from it, his second chute didn’t have enough time to open sufficiently due to his being too near to the ground.  Berlinger struck the ground and was transported unconscious to a hospital in Hartford, and it was reported that doctors held “slight hope” of his recovery. 

     Meanwhile, after being relieved of Berlinger’s weight, the balloon once again began ascending with Marsh still aboard.  When he thought it had risen to a safe altitude, Marsh made his jump with the intent of using three parachutes.  However, when he opened the third he was almost too low to the ground, but his chute deployed enough to slow him down just enough so that when he hit the field he didn’t receive any life threatening injuries.

     Ironically, Berlinger wasn’t scheduled to make the ascension with Marsh, for the professor usually did his parachute jumps with his son.  However, on this day, Marsh’s son was unable to attend so Berlinger was asked to take his place.          

     Source:

     Hartford Courant, (Conn.), “Ballonist Falls At Rockville Fair – Substitute Aeronaut Fatally Hurt When Parachute Fails To Open”, September 20, 1911 

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