The Hindenburg disaster occurred on this date in 1937.
The German rigid airship caught fire and was destroyed while attempting to dock with its mooring mast at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station.Out of the 97 people on board, 35 were killed, in addition to one fatality on the ground.
The largest man made object ever to fly, the Hindenburg would carry a gas volume of 7,062,000 cubic feet.
Although the Hindenburg is most famous for her fiery death, she was not initially meant to be filled with hydrogen at all. In order to keep the Zeppelin Company afloat during the hard times of the depression, large sums of money (bailout?) had been accepted by the National Socialist Party (anyone see a parallel here?).The United States, having the only natural deposits of helium in the world, was getting more and more suspicious of Hitler and his new Third Reich. Government officials wondered if the Zeppelin could be used for military purposes.Thus, a decision was made in the U.S. Congress and The Helium Control Act made it impossible for the Zeppelin Company to obtain helium for their new ship. With this turn of events, the Hindenburg was inflated with the volatile gas, hydrogen.
The "accident" served to shatter public confidence, and marked the end of the giant, passenger carrying rigid airships.
While many conclude that the cause was sabotage, various alternate theories abound.
Some credit the Pineys.
"a storm forced the Hindenburg into a holding pattern. The airship, only a few hundred feet off the ground, circled central New Jersey for two hours. Lakehurst, where it was trying to land, is on the edge of the Pines, and everyone knows Pineys don’t tolerate anyone poking into their woods, They figured the zeppelin was a government ship looking for their stills where they turn blueberries into whiskey, so they shot at the thing and opened leaks in the fabric. By the time the Hindenburg started to tie up, there was enough free hydrogen to blow the ship to kingdom come, which it did."
[excerpted from “Blue Highways” by William least Heat-Moon]
Just as with many of today's recent happenings, we may never know the "truth".
So much for transparency.