Video: John Cobb dies in Water Speed Record attempt, 1952
In 1939 John Cobb became the fastest man on land, a title which he would confirm by resetting his own land speed record in 1947.
Officially noted as having reached a confirmed speed of 394.19 mph (634.39 km/h) on land and with little competition in sight, by 1952 Cobb had turned his attention to boats and refocused his intentions on adding the world water speed record to his collection. Strapped into his jet-powered Crusader, Cobb tirelessly attempted to overtake Stanley Sayres’ 178.497 mph (287.263 km/h) benchmark. On the 29th of September 1952, John Cobb was making passes across the Loch Ness in Scotland at what is said to have been speeds in excess of 200 mph when his boat hit an unexpected wake and instantly disintegrated. His wheel-driven speed on water wasn’t broken until nearly 12 years later.