The Hindenburg Disaster
On Thursday, May 6, 1937, a disaster occured at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station in Lakehurst, New Jersey. Expected to be late because of thunderstorms, the German Passenger ship L2 129 Hindenburg started to approach the Lakehurst Naval Air Station at 7:00 pm. By 7:11 pm, the airship turned back toward the landing field after making turns because the ground crew was not ready. The engines began to idle, the airship began to slow, and the captain ordered all engines full astern to brake the airship. As the wind shifted South West, the airship made another sharp turn towards the landing field. The stern was too heavy to land, so 2,420 pounds of water were dropped from the ship. At 7:25 pm, witnesses reported seeing gas leaking and blue discharges just moments before flames appeared.

As the airship was on fire, passengers and crew had just seconds to react. Some jumped out of the windows, and some fell. However, many of these passengers did not survive because the Hindenburg was still 300 feet, or 30 stories in the air. Other passengers got stuck in the ship, crushed by other passengers and furniture. Some jumped from the ship as it neared the ground, and some were even rescued after it crashed. Within 32-37 seconds from the first flame, the Hindenburg was destroyed. Thirty-five out of the ninety-seven people aboard died.

There are many theories to how the fire was ignited. Some include a hydrogen gas leak from static electricity, electrical circuit troubles from static conditions, and even sabotage. The Hindenburg disaster marked the end of the airship era, although it was becoming less popular regardless.

credit to David Erickson of (flickr)
credit to David Erickson of (flickr)