Disasters · New Jersey

The Hindenburg disaster

May 6, 1937
Manchester Township, New Jersey
The airship LZ 129 Hindenburg catches fire moments before landing, killing 35 of the 97 people aboard and one more on the ground

The airship was kept aloft by hydrogen, a lighter-than-air and highly flammable gas. Nearly two dozen hydrogen airships were destroyed by fires between 1908 and 1937, with the Hindenburg being the final casualty. Decades after the Hindenburg crashed, tests are still carried out to find the cause of the fire, though all point towards an electrostatic charge igniting hydrogen gas leaking from its containment.

The tragic accident is particularly well-known due to the lengthy (for the time) recording of the incident and the sheer panicked state of narrator Herbert Morrison, whose famous line “oh the humanity!” has endured time.

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