THE SURREY COMET
WEDNESDAY, MAY 30, 1917
AEROPLANE IN A TREE
Aviator’s Fortunate Escape After Looping
An aviator’s miraculous escape was witnessed by hundreds of riverside visitors to East Molesey on Sunday afternoon.
Just after four o’clock, as a crowd of people on the Thames, opposite the Karsino, were listening to the band, an aviator, an Army officer, was seen to be performing evolutions, including looping the loop. While flying low the machine, a biplane, was seen to strike some telephone wires, which snapped. The impact had the effect of preventing the aviator rising, with the result that the machine crashed into a large elm tree, skirting the ground of the East Molesey Cricket Club. Onlookers expected to see the machine dashed to the ground, and its occupant either killed or seriously injured. Instead, however, the smash brought down some large branches of the tree, while the biplane remained fixed among the larger limbs. Ropes were obtained, P.C. Walter Baker, of the Molesey Section-house, climbing the tree, and after the officer, who was strapped to his seat, had fastened one around him he was safely lowered to the ground. Beyond suffering from shock, he appeared to be little the worse for the accident. The propeller of the biplane was completely smashed, as were other parts of the machine. When the aviator reached the ground he was taken to the Karsino, where he received numerous congratulations upon his lucky escape.
Under the tree into which the machine crashed was a rustic seat, upon which a lady was sitting, but on hearing the smash she quickly made her escape. The biplane was afterwards roped to the tree in case it should slip from its position.
The aviator had earlier in the afternoon been flying over Bushy Park at the time the Queen and Princess Mary were motoring along the chestnut avenue.