The Hindenburg Disaster of 1937 Part 2

About the Hindenberg disaster of 1937 when the German zeppelin or blimp exploded, the history of the disaster and possible causes.

THE Hindenburg

The Disaster: The Z-129 or Hindenburg was 10 hours late on its arrival at Lakehurst, and rain, prevailing winds, and lightning prevented immediate landing. After the airship had cruised about for several hours, weather conditions changed and at 7:10 P.M. the luxury liner was 200' over the Naval Air Station. Passengers had collected their personal effects and were ready to disembark. Mooring lines were dropped. Six crewmen were at the nose ready to couple up. On the ground, 92 navy men and 139 civilians were grabbing lines to guide the Z-129 to its mooring mast. At 7:25 the mooring was just minutes from being completed. Herb Morrison of radio station WLS was recording the activity of mooring. Suddenly the commonplace became tragedy. He shouted into his microphone: 'It's burst into flames! Oh, my . . . it's burning, bursting into flames. . . Oh, the humanity and all the passengers."

Seventy-seven hours out of Frankfurt, something had ignited the hydrogen gas. There was panic aboard the Hindenburg. Passengers broke out gondola windows to jump 100' to their death. Then there was a loud, 2nd explosion. In 34 seconds the proud queen of the air lay burning on the ground. Of those who managed to escape, badly burned, several died shortly thereafter. Of the 97 people on board, 35 died horribly.

Aftermath: The tragedy of the Hindenburg marked finis to an era of zeppelin travel. Air-planes were being developed, and though they carried fewer passengers and less freight, they were much faster. It was hoped that someday airplanes might even carry passengers across the ocean.

Tomorrow: The year 2000 may see what might appear as the ghost of the Z-129, but it won't be a zeppelin, nor will it be filled with gas bags. It will be a 21st-century spaceship plying its way between the star galaxies of the universe.

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