In 1910, airshow promoters in Milan, Italy, offered a large prize to the first flyer to cross the Alps between Brig, Switzerland, and Domdossla, Italy. Thirteen aviators applied, eight of whom were deemed ineligible by the racing committee. Three of the remaining five dropped out, leaving the Peruvian aviator Georges Chavez and one other man. On September 23rd, Chavez attempted to make the flight. Strong winds buffeted the plane, and spectators along the route saw him clinging desperately to the controls. The plane made it across the mountains and the crowds began to cheer. As his plane made its final approach, however, they were shocked to see its wings fall off. "It fell like a stone," one observer reported, from a height of nearly 50 feet.
Chavez broke both legs, suffered massive internal injuries, and lingered in a state of semi-consciousness for four days before dying. His last words? The repeatedly mumbled: "Arriba. Siempre arriba." (Higher. Always higher.)