Rutland, Vermont – September 6, 1916
On the afternoon of September 6, 1916, Samuel A. Libby, 38, was giving a balloon-parachute exhibition at the Rutland Fairgrounds. Libby’s demonstration involved four parachutes, each to be used in succession of each other, thereby giving a more thrilling performance. When the hot-air balloon had reached an altitude of 1,500 feet over the fairgrounds he cut away with the four parachutes. As Libby made his descent, the first three chutes deployed properly, but the fourth failed to open and he was killed.
His remains were reportedly sent to Oakland, Maine. It was further mentioned that he was single, and had belonged to the Loyal Order of Moose.
The day following the accident, a replacement for Libby was found. 18-year-old Freemont Ross of Rutland agreed to jump from the same balloon using a single parachute, which he did successfully. It was noted that this was his first time in a balloon.
Update, March 14, 2017
According to The Bennington Evening Farmer, Mr. Libby was 44-years-old, and was survived by two sisters. When his parachute failed to open, he reportedly landed on property located on Phillips Avenue.
Burlington Weekly Free Press, (Burlington, VT.), “Balloonist Fall; Meets His death At Rutland fair”, September 7, 1916
The Bennington Evening Farmer, (Bennington, VT.), “Parachute Jump At Rutland Was Fatal”, September 7, 1916
The Bennington Evening Banner, (Bennington, VT.), “Boy Makes Balloon Ascent”, September 9, 1916