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NOUVEL OBSERVATEUR (France)

Worldcrunch

One hundred years before Felix Baumgartner, there was … Franz Reichelt.

According to French magazine Nouvel Observateur, this tailor from Vienna had moved to France as a young man and become a French citizen -- and an inventor. Reichelt created a prototype parachute that he believed could save the lives of aviators.

Although his tests mostly failed, Reichelt believed that this was because they were conducted from too low a base. He finally received permission to carry out a test on a dummy at the Eiffel Tower on February 4, 1912. To the surprise and dismay of his friends, instead of using a dummy, he insisted on jumping himself in his parachute suit, from only the first level of the tower, 200 feet above the ground.

A crowd was present and several cameramen filmed Reichelt’s attempt to float down. Unfortunately, a parachute needs more than 200 feet to deploy, and Reichelt was killed upon impact.


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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Searching For Marianna, A Pregnant Doctor From Mariupol Held Captive By The Russians

We’ve heard about the plight of the soldiers-turned-prisoners from Mariupol. Here are some traces of the disturbing fate of a young female doctor who’s been taken away.

A paper dove reads "Mariupol" at a shelter for displaced children in Uzhhorod, western Ukraine.

Paweł Smoleński

"Wait for me, because I will return…"

Marianna Mamonova wrote these words to her family, among the text messages and short phone calls that are the only remaining fragments used to piece together her recent past. We also have a photo of her, posted on Russian websites, where she looks into the lens, gaunt and exhausted, signed with a number like a concentration camp prisoner.

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Until the Russian-Ukrainian war, Mamonova’s biography was available to anyone who wanted to know. She was born in 1991, studied at the Ternopil Medical University, and later at the Kyiv Military Academy. After completing her studies, she was sent to work in the coastal city of Berdiansk. Her mother says that this is where her daughter's dream came true: She’d always wanted to be a military doctor, and worked in Berdiansk for three years, receiving the rank of officer in the Ukrainian army.

Beginning in 2014, she’d worked stints as a front-line doctor in the Donbas region, and when Russia invaded Ukraine in February she went to war again. This time in Mariupol.

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