1902 Encyclopedia > Aeronautics > Fate of Pilâtre de Rozier. Female Aeronauts. Ascent at Constantinople.

(Part 16)

Fate of Pilâtre de Rozier. Female Aeronauts. Ascent at Constantinople.

On June 15, 1785, Pilatre de Rozier made his last fatal voyage from Boulogne. It was his intention to have repeated the exploit of Blanchard and Jeffries in the reverse direction, and have crossed from Boulogne to England . For this purpose he had contrived a double balloon, which he expected would combine the advantages of both kinds -- a fire-balloon, 10 feet in diameter, being placed underneath a gas-balloon of 37 feet in diameter, so that by increasing or diminishing the fire in the former it might be possible to ascend or descend without waste of gas. Rozier was accompanied by M.P.A. Romain, and for rather less than half-an-hour after the aerostat ascended all seemed to be going on well, when suddenly the whole apparatus was seen in flames, and the unfortunate adventurers came to the ground from the supposed height of more than 3000 feet. Rosier was killed on the spot, and Romain only survived about ten minutes. A monument was erected on the place where they fell, which was near the sea-shore, about four miles from the starting-point. The Marquis de la Maisonfort had accompanied Rozier to Boulogne, intending to ascend with him, but M. Romain there insisted on a prior promise. Either the upper balloon must have been reached by the flames, and the gas taken fire, or the gas must have poured down into the lower, balloon, and so have caused the explosion.

We must not omit to mention that on June 4, 1784 Madame Thible ascended from Lyons in a fire-balloon with M. Fleurand, in the presence of King Gustavus of Sweden, then traveling under the name of Count Haga. Madame Thible is very likely the only woman who ever ascended in a fire-balloon. The first Englishwoman who ever ascended into the air was Mrs Sage, who accompanied Mr. Biggin in his voyage from London on June 29, 1785.

Accounts are given of an ascent at Constantinople, made in the presence of the Sultan, by a Persian physician, accompanied by two Bostangis, early in the year 1786, who, crossing the sea which divided Europe from Asia, descended about 30 leagues from the coast.

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