Local news

Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

A crowd of several hundred spectators watched Edgar P. Murdock, 27, physician-turned-aeroplane pilot, test out a Spokane-made Farman biplane.

The plane’s builders, who recently opened an aeroplane factory on the city’s east side, were watching. So was Victor Maxim, president of Maxim Rotary Motor Co. of San Francisco, who was inspecting the machine for commercial purposes.

Suddenly, things went wrong.

“The planes (wings?) skidded in a sudden gust of wind and tipped the machine up,” Dr. Murdock said from his hospital bed. “The machine fell backward after turning upside down. This is my first accident, although I have made many flights in the west and middle west.”

The aeroplane alighted in a heap in a rock pile, just east of Helena Street and Sprague Avenue. Hundreds of spectators rushed to the rock pile. Some of them took splinters of wood from the wrecked machine and made splints for his broken leg. He also had a broken collarbone, a wrenched back, internal injuries and many abrasions.

He was rushed to Sacred Heart Hospital, where he was able to talk to a reporter about the accident, although he was still immobilized due to his injuries. Doctors were confident that he would recover.

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