Curious Expeditions reports:
If you were walking along the shore of the east river on March 27th 1905, you would have seen an entirely singular spectacle. A geyser some forty feet tall shot from the east river, and atop that geyser, like a cowboy on a bucking bull, rode Dick Creedon.
Creedon was a sandhog or "caisson man," one of the workers who dug the Manhattan subway system. They worked in "compressed air far below the surface of land or water," and sometimes their work environments sprung a leak. Here's an excerpt from the New York Times account of Creedon's adventure, March 28, 1905:
. . . occasionally the air would find a weak point in the soil. It would open a hole in the tunnel ceiling and suck dirt and muck up to the surface of the water in an upside down tornado. The standard operating procedure (which seems remarkably nonchalant) was to jam a sandbag in the hole and hope that the pressure would re-stabilize and the hole naturally close.
Creedon was jamming a bag against the upper rim of the shield when the air in the chamber overcame the pressure of the silt and water, and he was shot through the hole bored by the air through sand and river water, and found himself at the end of his marvelous trip struggling to keep from drowning in the slip a feet from the floating Bethel.
Long, detail-packed article. Read the whole thing and be glad you work in an office!