The Parachute That Killed Its Inventor
Franz Reichelt was an Austrian tailor who designed an overcoat that would act as a parachute, floating its wearer gently to the ground. To demonstrate his invention, he planned to send it off the first deck of the Eiffel Tower, using a dummy. Having obtained the correct permissions, however, and invited the gentlemen of the press, he decided at the last minute to test it in person, himself, possibly in response to the presence of newsreel cameras.
He strapped himself in and, after modelling his invention on the ground for the cameras and assembled crowds, climbed to the the first deck. There he hesitated several moments, poised on the rail of the deck, looking down at the ground. Finally, with a little thrust forward, he launched himself. With a 60 metre drop, the results were predictable.
The autopsy showed that Reichelt was dead before he hit the ground, killed by heart attack.
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