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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Parachutist survives after plane slashes parachute during stunt

Lt. E.E. Tattersfield “fell like a piece of lead, fully 1,000 feet.”  (SR archives)
Lt. E.E. Tattersfield “fell like a piece of lead, fully 1,000 feet.” (SR archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

Lt. E.E. Tattersfield was attempting a parachute stunt thousands of feet above the Parkwater airfield in Spokane when his parachute was slashed to ribbons by another plane.

And he lived to tell about it.

Tattersfield had leapt from one plane, while Lt. Munter spiraled around him in a second plane, intending to take photos of the stunt.

All went well for the first 300 feet, but then Lt. Munter’s wings slashed into Tattersfield’s parachute, tearing it to pieces. Tattersfield “fell like a piece of lead, fully 1,000 feet.”

Screams erupted from a crowd of 15 girls, who were watching the stunt. They turned away in horror.

As Tattersfield plunged toward the ground, he succeeded in deploying a second emergency parachute. It opened with about 400 feet to spare. Tatterfield floated down to a safe landing.

Lt. Munter later said that he was unable to see the parachute because the sun was shining directly into his eyes. The pilot of the other plane, Lt. Mamer, reported that Lt. Munter was in no way to blame and that the accident was “entirely unavoidable.”

From the census beat: The city of Hillyard had 3,942 residents in the 1920 census, an increase of about 20 percent over 1910.

“We feel that Hillyard is now gaining a healthy and substantial growth,” said Mayor Thomas Kehoe.

Hillyard was not yet part of Spokane. It would be annexed in 1924.

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