The German zeppelin Hindenburg trundles into the U.S. Navy’s hangar at Lakehurst, New Jersey, on the 9th of May, 1936. The rigid airship had just set a record for its first north Atlantic crossing, the first leg of ten scheduled round trips between Germany and America.
The disaster that saw the destruction of the airship happened just short of a year later, on the 6th of May, 1937.
The Hindenburg flies over Manhattan on the 6th of May, 1937. A few hours later the ship burst into flames while attempting to land at Lakehurst, New Jersey, claiming the lives of thirty-five people on board and one member of the ground crew.
The German airship Hindenburg floats past the Empire State Building over Manhattan, on the 8th of August, 1936, en route to Lakehurst, New Jersey, from Germany. Taken less than a year before the Hindenburg disaster.
On the 6th of May, 1937 the German airship the Hindenburg caught fire and crashed to the ground of Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey, United States.
There was recently a documentary about his disaster on television here in Australia. It turns out I didn’t know all that much about it. For example, I had no idea that not only were there survivors, but that the majority (sixty-two) of people on board survived! The spectacular footage of the crash (and how convenient that all the media people were lined up ready to photograph and film it) doesn’t make it look like something you would survive.
Apparently most people who lived had to wait inside until they were close enough to the ground to jump. It’s so hard to picture it, considering the extent of the fire, and how fast the airship was engulfed in flames – just over thirty seconds. Also hard to believe because it fell at such an angle – how did they even know which way was up by the time they came near the ground?
Items including letters were retrieved from the wreckage. I find it extraordinary that paper could have made it out of that ball of fire.
Thirty-five people on the ship were killed, as well as one member of the ground crew. In the footage you can see people jumping to the ground, others running in every direction and some who are running but don’t make it free before the structure collapses on top of them.
It’s such a terrifying sight. Nearly eighty years later and these monster ships of the sky still look futuristic, like something out of a science fiction movie!
The Hindenburg was supposed to depart again that evening, loaded with a fresh batch of passengers travelling to England for the coronation of King George VI. I’m guessing they never made it.