Accident Parseval-Sigsfeld Drache , Saturday 1 February 1902
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Date:Saturday 1 February 1902
Type:Parseval-Sigsfeld Drache
Owner/operator:Luftschiffers Bataillon
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Minor
Location:Zwijndrecht, Antwerp -   Belgium
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:Berlin-Tegel, Germany
Destination airport:
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
The Parseval-Sigsfeld Drache balloon, named "Berson", took off from the Tegeler Schiessplatz near Berlin (on the terrain which would become Berlin-Tegel Airport in 1948) at 09:30 local time (UTC+1) for a scientific survey flight. The balloon was manned by pilot Hauptmann Hans Bartsch von Sigsfeld of the Luftschiffers Batallon, and his passenger Dr. Professor Franz Lincke of the Landesaufnahme. The flight was intended for scientific measurements and experiments in the atmosphere.

In the days prior to the flight, a severe weather system had developed over eastern Germany and Belgium, resulting in a strong east to north-easterly wind. These winds would end up taking the "Berson" far more westerly and much quicker than the crew could anticipate. Around 14:35 (UTC+1) von Sigsfeld and Lincke noticed a large city near a river, which they thought to be Namur and the river Meuse; in fact, they were near Antwerp and the river Scheldt of which they did not have any charts. Unsure about their whereabouts and fearing they might end up over France, von Sigsfeld initiated a landing.

Around 14:00 local time (15:00 Berlin time), local witnesses saw the "Berson" descend to about an altitude of 5 meters over meadows near Zwijndrecht, west of Antwerp. The balloon's anchor was dropped, and both occupants tried to climb out of the gondola. Lincke succeeded in dropping himself to the ground, injuring himself in the process, however, von Sigsfeld got his foot caught in the balloon's roping. Winds caught the balloon forcing it into the frozen ground. After dragging for a distance the balloon's envelope collapsed. A local doctor could only establish that von Sigsfeld was killed on impact when he struck the ground while suspended upside down underneath the gondola.

Rudolf Max Wilhelm Hans Bartsch von Sigsfeld was born on February 9th 1861. He had been a military instructor at the Luftschiffers Bataillon at Berlin-Tegel since 1890, and together with Major August von Parseval, he had developed the Parseval-Sigsfeld Drache balloon in 1896. Von Sigsfeld had held a professional balloon license since 1896. The accident flight had been his 78th flight.

De Telegraaf, February 4 1902, "De Berlijnsche Luchtreizigers" -

Revision history:

22-Feb-2020 17:18 Anon Added
16-Mar-2022 12:08 PolandMoment Updated [Narrative]
25-Jun-2022 10:49 Ron Averes Updated [Location]

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