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Hindenburg disaster


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Jason Vorhees
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« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2009, 02:33:35 pm »

    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! It burst into flames, and it's falling, it's crashing! Watch it! Watch it! Get out of the way! Get out of the way! 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 one of the worst catastrophes in the world. [indecipherable] 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 out 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. Lady, 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 [indecipherable] I've lost my voice. This is the worst thing I've ever witnessed.

    – Herbert Morrison, describing the events, as broadcasted to WLS radio.
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Jason Vorhees
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« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2009, 02:35:07 pm »

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« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2009, 02:35:51 pm »

Spectacular motion picture footage and Morrison's passionate recording of the Hindenburg fire shattered public and industry faith in airships and marked the end of the giant passenger-carrying airships. Also contributing to the Zeppelins' downfall was the arrival of international passenger air travel and Pan American Airlines.[5] Aircraft regularly crossed the Atlantic and Pacific oceans much faster than the 130 km/h (80 mph) of the Hindenburg. The one advantage that the Hindenburg had over aircraft was the comfort it afforded its passengers, much like that of an ocean liner.

There had been a series of other airship accidents, none of them Zeppelins, prior to the Hindenburg fire. Many were caused by bad weather, and most of these accidents were dirigibles of British or U.S. manufacture. Zeppelins had an impeccable safety record. The Graf Zeppelin had flown safely for more than 1.6 million km (1 million miles), including the first circumnavigation of the globe by an airship. The Zeppelin company's promotions prominently featured the fact that no passenger had been injured on one of their airships.
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Jason Vorhees
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« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2009, 02:36:06 pm »

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« Reply #19 on: November 23, 2009, 02:36:51 pm »

Death toll

Despite the violent fire, most of the crew and passengers survived. Of the 36 passengers and 61 crew, 13 passengers and 22 crew died. Also killed was one member of the ground crew, civilian linesman Allen Hagaman. The majority of the crew who died were up inside the ship's hull, where they either did not have a clear escape route or else were close to the bow of the ship, which hung burning in the air too long for most of them to escape the fire. Most of the passengers who died were trapped in the starboard side of the passenger deck. Not only was the wind blowing the fire toward the starboard side, but the ship also rolled slightly to starboard as it settled to the ground, with much of the upper hull on that part of the ship collapsing outboard of the starboard observation windows, thus cutting off the escape of many of the passengers on that side.[6] To make matters worse, the sliding door leading from the starboard passenger area to the central foyer and the gangway stairs (through which rescuers led a number of passengers to safety) jammed shut during the crash, further trapping those passengers on the starboard side. [7] Nonetheless, some did manage to escape from the starboard passenger decks. A number of others did not. By contrast, all but a few of the passengers on the port side of the ship survived the fire, with some of them escaping virtually unscathed. Although the most famous of airship disasters it was not the worst. Almost twice as many perished when the helium filled USS Akron crashed at sea.
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« Reply #20 on: November 23, 2009, 02:37:17 pm »

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« Reply #21 on: November 23, 2009, 02:38:18 pm »

Some of the survivors were saved by luck. Werner Franz, the 14 year-old cabin boy, was initially dazed by the realization that the ship was on fire. As he stood near the officer's mess where he had been putting away dishes moments before, a water tank above him burst open, and he was suddenly soaked to the skin. Not only did this snap him back to his senses, as he would later tell interviewers, but it also put out the fire around him. He then made his way to a nearby hatch through which the kitchen had been provisioned before the flight, and dropped through it just as the forward part of the ship was briefly rebounding into the air. He began to run toward the starboard side, but stopped and turned around and ran the other way, because the flames were being pushed by the wind in that same direction. He made it clear of the wreck with little more than singed eyebrows and soaking wet clothes. Werner Franz is one of the two people aboard who are still alive as of 2008.
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Jason Vorhees
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« Reply #22 on: November 23, 2009, 02:38:31 pm »

When the control car crashed on the ground, most of the officers had leapt through the windows, but became separated. First Officer Captain Albert Sammt found Captain Max Pruss trying to re-enter the wreckage to look for survivors. Pruss's face was badly burned, and he required months of hospitalization and reconstructive surgery, but he survived.

Captain Ernst Lehmann escaped the crash with burns to his head and arms and severe burns across most of his back. Though his burns did not seem quite as severe as those of Pruss, he died at a nearby hospital the next day.
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« Reply #23 on: November 23, 2009, 02:38:44 pm »

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« Reply #24 on: November 23, 2009, 02:40:03 pm »

Cause of the Hindenburg Disaster

       I saw a television show claiming that the Hindenburg airship disaster was caused by its skin and not the gas inside. Can you explain why?
      - question from Cedric Pedersen

The Hindenburg, also known as the LZ129, was a German airship built during the 1930s. The Hindenburg and its sister ship the Graf Zeppelin II were not only the largest airships ever built but also the largest flying vehicles of any kind. Building on the success of the earlier Graf Zeppelin, both airships were intended to usher in an age of air travel considerably faster than the ocean liner but more comfortable and longer-ranged than the airplane. This era was rapidly brought to halt, however, by the catastrophic crash of the Hindenburg on 6 May 1937. The exact cause of the fire that destroyed the Hindenburg has never been conclusively determined leading to the variety of theories that exist today.
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« Reply #25 on: November 23, 2009, 02:40:21 pm »

The Hindenburg was the culmination of research into the rigid airship that had first been perfected by Count Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin of Germany around 1900. Zeppelin founded his own company that built several successful airships through World War I. Because many of these zeppelins were used to conduct bombing raids on England and France during the War, the post-war peace treaties imposed by the Allies severely restricted future construction of these craft. The airship began to make a comeback during the mid-1920s, however, thanks to the leadership of Dr. Hugo Eckener who took over the Zeppelin company following Count Zeppelin's death. The company reached its peak during the early 1930s when the airship Graf Zeppelin demonstrated regular transatlantic passenger service was safe and practical. The Graf Zeppelin completed several record-setting flights including a circumnavigation of Earth in 1929, a flight over the Arctic in 1931, and appearances at numerous major world events. These successes lured a growing number of passengers and mail services to use the new airship line for transportation between Europe and the Americas.
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« Reply #26 on: November 23, 2009, 02:40:48 pm »



Hindenburg moored at Lakehurst, New Jersey, in 1936
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« Reply #27 on: November 23, 2009, 02:41:04 pm »

The popularity of the Zeppelin line prompted Eckener to build a second airship to the same design as the Graf Zeppelin. However, this model was cancelled following the crash of Great Britain's R.101 airship in 1930. The disastrous accident cost 48 lives and was blamed in part on hydrogen gas, used for lift, that had ignited as the airship came down. Eckener then decided to abandon hydrogen in his next airship, the Hindenburg, in favor of the inert gas helium. Unfortunately, the Nazis had come to power by the time the Hindenburg was completed in 1935 and the United States, which controlled the world supply of helium, refused to sell the gas to a German company. The Hindenburg was instead modified to use hydrogen for buoyant lift, and steps like special treatments to its skin coating were taken to avoid sparks that might ignite the gas. Despite these concerns, German airships had a long history of safe operation using hydrogen and no fire due to the gas had ever occurred on a civilian zeppelin. Indeed, no passenger had ever been injured on one of the German company's airships and the Graf Zeppelin had flown over 1 million miles (1.6 million km) without incident.
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« Reply #28 on: November 23, 2009, 02:41:14 pm »

Upon its completion, the enormous Hindenburg measured 804 ft (245 m) in length with a diameter of 135 ft (41 m) and could lift a massive payload of 123.5 tons (112,000 kg). The great bulk of the vessel provided space for 16 cells containing over 7 million cubic feet (200,000 cubic meters) of lightweight gas to give the airship buoyancy. Powered by four 1,200 hp diesel engines that gave the ship a top speed of 85 mph (135 km/h), the Hindenburg carried a total of 72 passengers and 61 crew and was capable of making transatlantic voyages between Germany and the United States or Brazil.
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« Reply #29 on: November 23, 2009, 02:42:18 pm »



Hindenburg approaching the mooring mast at Lakehurst just before disaster struck
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