First Air Service Fatality

Today in History, September 17, 1908:

US Army Lt. Thomas Selfridge, who had been the first US military officer to fly a powered aircraft solo, also becomes the first fatality of powered flight.

He was a passenger flying in the Wright Flyer with Orville Wright, during a demonstration flight at Ft. Myer, Virginia. One of the propellers snapped, damaging the aircraft, causing it to crash.

Lt. Selfridge struck his head on impact and died 3 hours later. Orville suffered severe injuries but recovered. Lt. Selfridge rests at adjacent Arlington National Cemetery.

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