Hindenburg - Summary

While thunderstorms still rumbled in the atmosphere, the great airship hovered above its landing spot at New Jersey’s Lakehurst Naval Station. It had been a stormy May 6th day.

Carrying ninety-seven people, the Hindenburg was just completing its first trip of the 1937 season. In a few days, she would return to Frankfurt - loaded with American passengers planning to attend the coronation of George VI.

But those passengers would need to find another way to London. Within thirty-four seconds after Commander Rosendahl initially saw a small burst of flame on the top of the ship, Hindenburg was completely destroyed in an unbelievable fire. Sixty-two people miraculously survived.

Herb Morrison, a radio-broadcast journalist with WLS in Chicago, was on-the-scene to report the airship’s arrival. Shocked, he described what he saw. The Hindenburg - which had become a huge ball of fire - was falling out of the sky!

Conducting an independent investigation decades later, Dr. Addison Bain (a retired NASA scientist) did not believe that hydrogen (long blamed as the disaster’s cause) was, in fact, responsible. His conclusions were surprisingly supported by a German-language letter he found in the archives at Friedrichshafen (the town where Hindenburg was built).

Otto Beyersdorff, a German engineer originally investigating the disaster, had concluded (by June of 1937) that the massive fire was caused by Hindenburg’s paint. It was extremely flammable. Otto’s letters (and his conclusions) were not referenced in the official German report.

In this story behind the disaster, see the great airship (designated LZ 129) as she was built in Germany and as she was consumed by flames in America. Virtually visit Lakehurst Air Naval Station, in New Jersey, where Hindenburg had special quarters during her U.S. sojourns. Listen to Herb Morrison’s famous broadcast, watch a video of what happened and examine Dr. Bain’s conclusions regarding the fire’s cause.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Apr 01, 2007

Updated Last Revision: Nov 09, 2016

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"Hindenburg" AwesomeStories.com. Apr 01, 2007. Feb 18, 2020.
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