German airship, Hindenburg – eight hundred feet long and able to carry a hundred passengers and crew in luxury. At 7.25pm on 6 May 1937 it burst into flame on approach to Lakehurst, New Jersey.
In one of the first live broadcasts of a disaster, Herb Morris’s emotional voice narrated the events, which saw thirty six people killed. A later inquiry blamed a freak charge of static electricity for the disaster, whilst conspiracies abounded that the airship had been sabotaged. The latest investigations concentrate on the possibility that a mooring rope had hit an engine, causing a fuel leak, which ignited one of the hydrogen tanks. In just 34 seconds the whole ship was an inferno, although one later analysis by NASA suggested it could have been only 16 seconds.
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