Loren H. Call
First Lieutenant, United States Army
Lieuenant Call Drops 1,000 Feet, Breaks Both Legs And Died Instantly
HOUSTON, Texas, July 8, 1913 - Lieutenant Loren H. Call of the Second Division, U.S.A. Aero Squadrom, dropped nearly 1,000 feet at Texas City this morning and was instantly killed. More than 200 soldiers watched the practice flight in which he was engaged. It was supposed that the aeroplane struck a current of warn air that tilted the machine, and the biplane, a six-cylinder Wright, came crashing to the earth. When the machine tilted Call was thrown forward off the seat, clutched the forward rail and, with his body swinging free, came down with the machine. When within a hundred feet of the ground his hands relaxed their hold and he fell clear of the biplane.
He struck feet first breaking both ankles and tearing open the right thigh. His chest was crushed and his skull fractured. Death was instantaneous.
General Carter, in command of the Second Division, has appointed a board of inquiry to determine the cause of the accident. Only yesterday Lieutenant Call made a flight of twenty-five miles in twenty-five minutes. He was born on June 30, 1888, and was appointed Second Lieutenant of Coast Artillery from Kansas on September 25, 1909. He was promoted to a First Lieutenancy on July 10, 1911, and at his own request was assigned to aviation duty during the present year.
Lietuenant Call's death makes a total of nine fatalities in the Army and Navy since experiments began with heavier-than-air machines in 1908. Eight of the fatalities occurred in the Army, while the Navy has lost only one officer.
The first commissioned officerof the Army to lose his life was Lieutenant Thomas H. Seldridge of the Signal Corps on September 17, 1908. He made a short flight about Fort Myer, Virginia, with Orville Wright. Lieutenant Seldridge was instantly killed and Wright was seriously injured.
Lieuenant George E. M. Kelly, the second Army officer killed was buried under the wreckage of his biplane at San Antonio, Texas, on May 10, 1911.
Lieuenant Leighton W. Hazelhurst, Jr., of the Seventeenth Infantry, and Al Welch, a professional aviator and instructor, were killed at the Army Aviation School at College Park, Maryland, on June 11, 1912, while putting a new Wright machine though its final tests.
Paul Peck, another instructor at the Army Aviation School at College Park, was killed in Chicago on September 11, 1912, while attempting a flight in the face of a strong wind.
The deaths of Lieutenant L. C. Rockwell and Corporal Frank Scott on September 28, 1912, increased the list of Army fatalities to five.
Lieutenant Rex Chandler of the Coast Artillery Corps lost his life on April 8, 1913 when the hydro-aeroplane in which he and Lieutenant Lewis H. Brereton were flying plunged into San Diego Bay. Lieutenant Brereton was rescued from the water badly hurt.
The seventh Army officer to lose his life was Lieutenant Joseph D. Park on May 10, 1913 when the militarty biplane in which he was flying crashed against a tree in Olive, California.
The first fatality in the Navy occurred on
June 20 last, when a hydro-aeroplane in which were Lieutenant John
H. Towers and Ensign William D. Billingsley collapsed while manoeuvering
over Chesapeake Bay. Atit dropped Billingsley was thrown out headlong
to his death. Lieutenant Towers saved himself by clinging to one
of the uprights between the planes when it struck the water and was rescued
by a launch.