Today in 1937: Hindenburg goes down in flames, killing 36
On May 6, 1937, the Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed in just minutes, killing 36 people in Lakehurst, New Jersey.
The giant airship was destroyed while attempted to dock at Naval Air Station Lakehurst. 97 people were on board, including 36 passengers and 61 crewmen.
The disaster marked the end of the rigid airship era of air travel.
The hydrogen-floated Hindenburg was sparked by something inside the airship. There are several theories as to what took down the Hindenburg. Here's the U.S. Department of Commerce on the disaster if you'd like to read more.
The broadcast of the disaster became one of the most famous in history, thanks to Herbert Morrison's commentary during a radio report for WLS in Chicago.
There was much publicity of about the Hindenburg coming to the United States.
Here's the transcript of what Morrison said on the radio:
It's practically standing still now they've dropped ropes out of the nose of the ship; and (uh) they've been taken ahold of down on the field by a number of men. It's starting to rain again; it's... the rain had (uh) slacked up a little bit. The back motors of the ship are just holding it (uh) just enough to keep it from...It's burst into flames! Get this, Charlie; get this, Charlie! It's fire... and it's crashing! It's crashing terrible! Oh, my! Get out of the way, please! It's burning and bursting into flames and the... and it's falling on the mooring mast. And all the folks agree that this is terrible; this is the worst of the worst catastrophes in the world. Oh it's... [unintelligible] its flames... Crashing, oh! Four- or five-hundred feet into the sky and it... it's a terrific crash, ladies and gentlemen. It's smoke, and it's in flames now; and the frame is crashing to the ground, not quite to the mooring mast. Oh, the humanity! And all the passengers screaming around here. I told you; it – I can't even talk to people, their friends are on there! Ah! It's... it... it's a... ah! I... I can't talk, ladies and gentlemen. Honest: it's just laying there, mass of smoking wreckage. Ah! And everybody can hardly breathe and talk and the screaming. I... I... I'm sorry. Honest: I... I can hardly breathe. I... I'm going to step inside, where I cannot see it. Charlie, that's terrible. Ah, ah... I can't. Listen, folks; I... I'm gonna have to stop for a minute because I've lost my voice. This is the worst thing I've ever witnessed.
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