Hot-Air Balloon Accident In British Era Bombay, Old Print 1891.

Hot-Air Balloon Accident In British Era Bombay, 1891 Print

An 1891 print on a hot-air balloon accident in British-era Bombay (Mumbai). These pages are from the London-based newspapers, Daily Graphic, of December 12, 1891, and December 31, 1891. Never would have guessed that Bombay had hot-air ballooning in the 19th century. But unfortunately, it seems to have ended in disaster, instantly killing the ballooner, Lieutenant R.N.R. Mansfield.

Mansfield was a lieutenant in the Royal Naval Reserve and is said to have been the second officer of the P & O steamship Nizam. Although it is believed that this balloon had been successfully attempted quite many occasions previously. This time it fatally burst in mid-air. The reason cited was that the fabric showed fraying and deterioration because of it falling into the sea on earlier attempts. On a previous occasion, Lieutenant Mansfield descended safely in his parachute from a height of 11,000 ft at that time. He stated his experience, at around 7,000 ft every part of Bombay appeared distinctly visible.

At 10,000 feet He began to feel the decreasing temperature of the atmosphere. And could have ascended much higher had not the intense cold at 11,400 ft numbed his hands. Then for some reason, the balloon became uncontrollable and he had to jump with his parachute. His first sight of the balloon after the parachute opened being in line with the Prong Lighthouse. He landed on a terraced house near the beach probably at Colaba and retrieved the balloon from the sea. The immersion in the seawater a few times deteriorated the balloon’s fabric. The repair work done was not proper thus leading to the fatal accident.

Did you know – Mansfield was dissuaded from his dangerous passion many times but fell on deaf ears. He even contemplated quitting his job to promote it in the military all over India. He had assistance from princely states.

From the collection – Raja Ravi Varma’s Goddess Laxmi 2 Postcards., Maharaja of Jodhpur – Photogravure 1915., Viceroy Of British India’s Civil Servant, Postcard 1919., Vintage Book 1939 – The Handbook of India

Hot-Air Balloon Accident In British Era Bombay, 1891 Print