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L'Estrange's Balloon Ascent.
THE balloon ascent by Henri L'Estrange came off last night, and resulted in a sensational and startling denouement The work of inflating the balloon proceeded without a hitch all day,
and by nightfall everything appeared.-to be in readinesfl" the asoent Between 7 and 9 o'clock crowds of visiton entered the Domain through the varioua gates, and ia a short (fane there matt have been fullj lO.OQOpersona in Urn Outer Domain. Bub-inspector Wftters, vita • lew aeti>uj«4r him, had charge of the email an cLoeurewiUdn which theballooawaastetfoned, bat L'Jtstraaffs found the teak oj kenptag theroughs in check an exceedingly difficult one, **d in a very abort tin* the temporary barricade which had beea oonateucted wjth • view to preserve the ballboa Iron damage V"i broken down. About 9 o'dook Urn Urrikio elemsat began to ssscrt itself ia Urn usual «rmtio manner, •ad about half-past 9 o'olock L'Estrange deter mined to make tbf Moeatg bul it «v found that owiog to U»a d«mitf of Urn atmovhwa and the h«a*j daw whkh wm then falling Urn balloon did not poMev eonkiant bwojancv to Uf t Urn oar and aeronaut, even without baUatt It, how ever,a»oMdef),aboot fiftj jaris, and waa Umb draaed baok to ttrr* frma, L'Eiavangk'a iatea- Uonbefagtoproeureadditionaigaa. Theofileer of Urn gaa oMßpaoy, however, declined to rife anj farther aapply, and one ol two altenuttrei praanted itoaU to L'Xatenafa, either to abandon Urn attempt and run the rkk ol being eerietulf maltreated by Urn mob, or prooeed heaTenwarda wiUMut Urn ear, aoaapting the attendant hanwdfl ol tueh an aerial voyage. Be feeoWad to go aloft and truat to hia food fortune, and thereupon immediat*l/ dienngaged Urn baakek, and aeating himatU in a loop oi Urn pendant ropes, gave the order to let go, and a itw minute* before 10 o'clock the balloon graoe f ully atoended in an almoat perpendicular diree* tion to an altitude of about half>a>a>ile. Alter hovering above Urn city for a few minutes it alowly sailed in the dtreotfon of Hyde Park, and thence, catching a westerly current, waa swept onward towards Ruaheutter Bay. Just about this time L'Kstrange put an extra tension on the valve to prevent any escape of gas, and in doing so lifted himself off his precarious percb, and was alarmed to find himself suspended in mid-sir by his hands. He, however, managed to secure • seat once more, and finding that Urn escaping gas was sensibly affecting him, lashed himself to the rope*. Previous to this he had endeavoured to let down Urn grappluig irons, but the ropes having become entangled, would not drop further than 16ft As the balloon began rapidly to descend towards Wuolloo mooloo, I/Kstrange aaw at oooe that he ran very great risk of being killed, or, at the very leant, receiving serious injury by coming into collision with the building*, and he aocordiogly made every preparation possible under the circum stance* to effect a safe landing, resolving to let the balloon take its chance. After passing over Robinsons-lane, between Crown and Palmer streets, the balloou struck the top of a house on the opposite side of Palmer-street, and there re mained fast L'Estrange, watching his oppor tunity, cut away the ropes by which he was held, and managed to drop safely on the roof of the building, and thence descended into the street Measra. Thiodon and Gibsop, two members of the aeronaut's committee, with Mr. Carroll and several other gentlemen, got hold of the network of the balloon in ordur to bring it safely into the roadway with as little damage aa possible ; but just at this juncture a gentleman residing in the house already re ferred to opened the Venetian shutters on the balcony, and the escaping gas from the balloon communicating with the chandelier inside the room caused an immediate explosion. _ At this time thousands of people were hurrying from the Domain, Hyde Park, and other localities towards Woolloomooloo, and the first intimation they received thatßome catastrophe had occurred waa in a audden blaze of light which cast a brief but vivid illumination over the entire suburb. Thia was followed by a maaa of fire which Bhot quickly up into the air and bb speedily de scended. The general impreaaion waa that L'EBtrange must have been killed, and a good deal of agitation was apparent amongat the hundred* who were hurrying to the wene of the
disaster, and who ware subsequently moofa ta> lieved to bear that the aerial voyager was aafa, if not perfeotly sound. When the gas in the bal« loon beoama ignited. Mr. Thiodon aotoallj had hold of the network, but, strange to say, h* escaped with a few abrasions. The explosion itaelf was not very alarming, but the anddan aad unexpected blaae of light caused a panic, result* ing in a general and immediate stamped*, That* waa a large crowd in William arfirPataar street*, and th« various lanes adjoining, and ■» oonfusion that ensued was almost beyond dsa soription. In the genoral rash that was mad* to get out o( danger, numbeira of people wan Snooted down and trodden upon, and son* severely injured, while others escaped with alight bruises. The crowd momentarily grew larger* and, if possitJej aore excited, as ft was thoaght by many of those on the spot, and the large Majo rity of the new-oomers, that Robinson's drapers shop, upon which the burning fragment* of the balloon had desoended, was ou fire. The engines had not arrired by thia time, but they etna shortly after at fulttpeedTaltd were not long in flsmpfamg javp'arations to get a stream of water on to the building. A pi** was drawn in William-street, but the efforts W the firemen were hampered at every step hv the surging crowd. By the time one of the engines got to work, however, it was seen that the e^peetatioM of a fire were not likely to be realised, as the smoke from the roof had become much Atener, and the sparks which had been ascending had disappeared. A few dashes of water and the In was out, the damage being confined to the) banting of a small portion of the roof of |k« house.— B. M. Herald, March 18.