Lake George, NY Skirt Caught on Controls Causes Crash, Aug 1923

Skirt in Gear Causes Fatal Air Plunge; S.G. Wincapaw Killed in Lake George Crash

LAKE GEORGE, N. Y., Aug. 6 — In one of the strangest flying accidents ever known, an aviator was killed on Lake George last night when a woman passenger's skirt caught on the control stick of his hydroplane and sent the craft "panicking" to the surface of the lake.

It landed so hard that a wing strut was splintered and a sliver was driven through the pilot's skull, killing him instantly. The woman was knocked unconscious and a second passenger, a man, suffered a broken leg.

The victim was Sterling G. Wincapaw, 34-years old, of Greenwich, Conn., a partner with his father, Charles C. Wincapaw, and his brother, Leland S. Wincapaw, in the Greenwich Yacht Yards. The woman passenger was Miss Wilson of New York. The other man was Thomas Light, whose address was not learned.

Mr. Wincapaw recently came to Lake George and began taking passengers for flights over the lake. He had taken about a hundred trips without mishap when about 7:20 on Sunday evening he went up with Miss Wilson and Light About twenty-five miles down the lake from Lake George village, at a point opposite Hague, Miss Wilson's skirt, whipped by the wind, got caught in the "joy stick." With a common impulse, she and the pilot bent to untangle it, but before they could do anything, the plane suddenly canted and went swooping down, smashing to the surface with a terrific bang.

Hundreds lined the shore watching the flight. Numerous boats were cruising about, and these at once set out for the crippled seaplane. Wincapaw was dead when they got there. Miss Wilson had lost her senses from the shock of the fall, though it seemed to onlookers that the craft was not more than fifty feet above the water when it started down. Light Was groaning with the pain of a fractured leg.

Miss Wilson and Light were taken to Camp Rona, on the shore opposite Hague, where medical assistance was rendered.

Aug. 7, 1923 edition of "The New York Times"