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Sunday, May 6, 2007

Anniversary of the Hindenburg disaster

Seventy years ago today the 804-foot-long German dirigible Hindenburg met its fiery end in Lakehurst, N.J. ("Survivors Remember Hindenburg's Fiery End.")

A total of 35 people on board and one person in the ground crew died in the tragedy; 62 passengers and crew members survived.

Flammable hydrogen had to be used because of a U.S. embargo on nonflammable helium to Germany. The cause of the disaster is still debated. The most accepted theory is that static electricity from the day's storms ignited leaking hydrogen.

One wonders if such an incident were to occur today how massive the lawsuits would be. The people who were killed died horribly, mostly burning to death. More than 1,000 sightseers were watching as the vessel exploded into a ball of fire. The survivors still vividly recall it seven decades later.


Peter said...

Not to make light of it, but there was an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati that referenced this disaster.


Mark Cohen, editor said...

How could a WKRP reference ever be in bad taste? Plus Loni Anderson is from Minnesota, so that gives us a local connection. However, as far as we know, she is not related to Minnesota Supreme Court Justices Russell, G. Barry or Paul Anderson, so we have not established a legal-community connection. Oh, the humanity!