Jimmie Angel Historical Project sends a letter from America!

Representatives from the Jimmie Angel Historical Project sends a letter from America: “Dear Alfreds Paulausks. Valdis Ābols recently sent me photographs of your paintings of Aleksandrs Laime, Angel Falls, and Jimmie Angel’s airplane on the sides of a Kurbads truck. Your painting is a  beautiful homage to all, but especially to Laime. He was an important person in the history of exploration in the Angel Falls region. It is good that by seeing his image more people may learn about him. Kind regards, Karen Angel.”

Aleksandrs Laime became famous as the first known person to reach the world’s highest waterfall – Angel Falls. In 1949, he was the guide for Ruth Robertson’s expedition to measure the waterfall and confirm it as the tallest waterfall in the world. In 1955 he climbed the Canaima Plateau for the first time, reaching the Jimmie Angel’s “El Río Caroní”, which had been there since the accident that happened in 1937.

On October 9, 1937, Jimmie was returning to the falls with the intention of landing. This 1937 expedition included Jimmie and Marie Angel and their companions: Gustavo Heny; Heny’s jungle companion Miguel Angel Delgado, who was an expert at climbing

rope and handling a machete; and Captain Felix Cardona Puig. He attempted a landing, but despite a successful touchdown, his aircraft nose-dived when it hit soft ground at the end of its landing run. The wheels sank in the mud, making take-off impossible.

Jimmie Angel’s “El Río Caroní” plane is also illustrated on the car carrier design of Aleksandrs Laime, because both of these heroes and their stories are connected.

Our artist Alfreds comments: “I first learned about Aleksandrs Laime, a Latvian who lived in the jungles of Venezuela for fifty years next to the highest waterfall in the world, after watching the film “I am a Latvian” released in 1990 by Ansis Epners. For me, a young guy who at that time had not even crossed the Polish border, Laime’s story was a great impact for further travel adventures. Laime was the first to find the way to Angel Falls by foot, and he also gave the name of the river that forms it – Rio Gauja. It goes without saying that the story of Aleksandrs Laime is impossible without the story of Angel Falls.

But there is another very important person who is very closely connected with this place – it is the aviator Jimmie Angel, after whom the waterfall is named. Jimmie Angel was the first westerner to spot the falls by flying over in an airplane. He crashed trying to land it on top of a waterfall mountain and became famous for his rescue story of eleven days searching for a way down a vertical mountain. Laime, on the other hand, was the first to climb to the top of the waterfall and find the wreckage of Jimmy’s plane 18 years after the accident. In real life, these two gentlemen do not seem to have met, but Laime must have known about Jimmie’s adventures and they inspired him to new discoveries.

So we come to the composition of my drawing – Aleksandrs Laime in the center, Angel Falls in the background and Jimmie Angel’s plane above it. I’m kind of sloppy with the chronology, because when Laime arrived in Venezuela, Jimmie’s plane had been rusting on the top of the mountain for quite some time and he was dreaming of the National Museum of Caracas. But I wanted to give the picture a more positive mood, so I chose to depict the moment when Jimmy is still flying over the waterfall in his plane.

Two outstanding personalities, two most interesting destinies intertwined around a natural pearl – the highest waterfall in the world.”

In 1970  Venezuelan Air Force removed Jimmie Angel’s airplane El Rio Caroni from Auyantepui in pieces and reassembled it at the Venezuelan Air Force Museum in Maracay, Venezuela.