A HYDROPLANE RESCUE
All this while Andy’s nerves had been strained to a high pitch. And it was not at all singular, therefore, that when the anticipated event came to pass he gave vent to a loud cry.
“Looky! Frank; they’re going to drop! Something must have happened to the motor or else a plane guy broke to cripple them!” was what he almost shrieked.
Frank was watching, though he had not uttered a single sound. He knew that the half expected crisis was now upon them. At least his heart found cause for rejoicing that if an accident had to happen, it affected the other aeroplane rather than their own. It is much easier to bear watching another’s troubles than to bear your own.
What Andy had said was the truth, for the craft they were chasing after had taken a sudden dip, and was fluttering downward.
If you have ever seen a crippled bird trying hard to keep afloat, you can have a pretty good conception of how that biplane dropped lower and lower toward the water.
That it did not fall like a lump of lead spoke volumes for the magnificent management of the pilot who controlled the levers, and whose long experience had taught him just what to do in such a dreadful emergency as this.
Frank had instantly cut off much of their power, though they still continued to sweep onward toward the place of the catastrophe, and were rapidly drawing near the falling aeroplane.
Both boys stared at the terrible picture of the descending biplane nearing the heaving surface of the lake. It seemed very serious indeed, for any one to drop in this way; and yet how much more dangerous to fall upon land, where the wrecked aviators would stand a good chance of broken limbs, even though they saved their necks.
Then a cry from the impulsive Andy told that the biplane was in the water. If the engine had broken loose there was a pretty fair chance that the craft with its long extended planes would float, and even bear up the two aviators. Perhaps the quick-witted Casper Blue had looked out for just such a contingency, and found a way to free the framework from the dead weight of the motor.
Frank had all he could do to manipulate his own craft, for in order to alight successfully, even as a wild duck does, he must make a turn, and head up into the wind.
That meant the passage of a certain length of time; and meanwhile who could say what might not be happening to the imperiled men?
On the other hand, Andy could not tear his horrified gaze away from the wreck of the fallen biplane; and it was really upon him that the navigator must depend for his information as to how things were going.
Fortunately Andy could talk as well as look; no matter if his tongue did show a decided inclination to cleave to the roof of his mouth with horror, he managed to find a way to make it wag.