On this day in 1974, a woman fired from a cannon in Bristol failed to break the English record for the second time. Mary Connors, 21, aimed to be shot further than anyone else had yet achieved in England by clearing the River Avon and landing in a safety net. Before her attempt Ms Connors said she was confident of success. "We've been working on the cannon ever since Wednesday and I think we've ironed out all the faults," she said. Ms Connors said she was persevering in spite of her failure because "it's a challenge to get to the other side." She had not taken out personal insurance for the attempts, Ms Connors added, but she had taken "a few swimming lessons." In the event they came in handy as Ms Connors, a secretary, again fell short and ended up in the water.
Events took a farcical turn when two men in a rescue boat also fell in the water as they tried to pull her out. The three then had to be rescued by another boat which was standing by with a frogman aboard.
The first human cannonball act is believed to have taken place in1870s England. The most famous cannon balling family was the Zacchini brothers who began in 1922. Two Zacchinis are said to have collided in mid-air after being shot from opposite ends of a circus ring - one broke his back. Emanuel Zacchini set a world record distance of 175 feet (53 metres) in 1940.
It was broken in 1995 by American David Smith who was shot 180 feet (54.97 metres). More than 30 human cannonballs have been killed.
To watch a video of Ms Connors record attempt, click on the following link: