Hindenburg Explosion - As It Happened

Landing in New Jersey, following a thunderstorm, one of Germany's airships - the Hindenburg - became a massive ball of fire on May 6, 1937. For people watching, it appeared that the Hindenburg had exploded. It disintegrated in less than half-a-minute.

It was during the days of radio, when people listened to the "wireless" to know what was going on at home and abroad.  Herb Morrison, a reporter for the radio station WLS, was on the scene in New Jersey.

Calmly describing what he saw, as the Hindenburg came in for a landing, Morrison's broadcast initially sounds mundane.  It wasn't the first time, after all, that the Hindenburg had made a transatlantic crossing from Germany to America.

Then ... everything about the broadcast changed dramatically. 

Morrison saw that the gigantic air ship was suddenly on fire.  It wasn't just a small fire which grew larger.  It was a raging fire, almost from the start.

As he watches what is happening to the famous dirigible, Morrison is overcome with emotion.  He doesn't believe that a single person would be able to survive such a massive inferno.

Worried about the "humanity," Morrison seems unable to keep reporting for a time.  He then recovers, and continues recording his broadcast.

This original-reel footage, coupled with Herb Morrison's famous audio recording, shows the disaster as it unfolded.

Why the Hindenburg erupted in flames - and was consumed by fire so quickly - is still a matter of debate and study.

Media Credits

Historical footage by Herb Morrison (reporter) and Charlie Nehlsen (engineer), captured on lacquer disc.

Clip online, courtesy Archive.org. 


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"Hindenburg Explosion - As It Happened" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Jun 02, 2020.
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