Teijin Crashes.

  Wait -A slide show should start.  
 

It was the 11th June, 1967.I was planning to jump, hence by regulation wore not only a main parachute but also a reserve. Unfortunately I decided not to carry my helmet camera.
Stan Grincivicius and Don Joergens were to fly on and land the balloon. They'd never ever jumped, they just wore emergency harnesses with reserve chutes stowed nearby to clip on if necessary.

Because of the constant burner noise, conversation was impossible. After 20 minutes of constant heating, we reached 4,500 ft. I climbed onto the edge of the gondola, and could feel the radiant heat from the burner now beside me.
Over a large ploughed paddock, after a nod I stepped off. Ten seconds later, having dropped about 1,000ft, I opened the parachute.

Checking my canopy, I spotted Teijin above. Teijin was made from a red and white striped fabric, however, I could see it turning silver, which was a puzzle, until realising that I was seeing the inside of the envelope as it began to rip vertically and slowly turn inside out.

   
         
 

As I descended, Teijin was coming down even faster. It was mesmerising, hanging there as a spectator unable to help. Thankfully it wasn't long before I saw someone jump and open their canopy. Then another jumped and opened.

The balloon kept deflating and dropping faster. I remember sighing with relief as it missed them both. It was falling ever faster, then as it reached level with me, the top suddenly burst open and the last bubble of air escaped. There was a roar of flapping fabric as it began diving straight down. It appeared to be heading for an isolated farm house, but fortunately landed in a ploughed paddock nearby.

From above, I saw it impact, and three sides of the gondola were flung open like flower petals, then immediately buried as the trailing fabric poured over it. One of the 100lb fuel tanks was dented on a rock, but luckily didn't explode, as I was by then, not that far above it.It was strange landing there. Not far away on a gentle rise, was this lonely pile of wreckage. Not a soul was in sight. There was a sadness with the fabric flapping gently in the breeze. It was several minutes before any ground crew arrived. Then Don and Stan walked over a rise.

The occupants of the farmhouse came out briefly, but decided there was more excitement on TV. We heard that a football game in Canowindra came to a halt when they spotted Teijin crashing to the ground. The home team lost, and we were blamed.