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The Hindenburg

Uploaded by Admin on Jan 22, 1999

The Inferno The arrival of the Hindenburg, thirteen hours behind schedule, at Lakehurst, New Jersey, on the evening of May 6, 1937, promised to be routine. The ship had an unblemished safety record on eighteen previous Atlantic crossings. In fact, no passenger had ever lost his life on any commercial airship. Still, because this was the beginning of the most ambitious season yet for airship voyages, reporters, photographers and news reel cameramen had their eyes and lenses focused on the great dirigible as it approached. When disaster struck it was sudden. Without warning flames gushed from within the Hindenburg's hull; thirty-two seconds later the airship lay on the ground, ravaged. Never had the sights and sounds of a disaster in progress been so graphically documented. Within a day, newspaper readers and theater audiences were confronted by fiery images of the Hindenburg. Radio listeners heard the emotional words of newsman Herb Morrison, sobbing into his recorder, "It's burning, bursting into flames, and it's falling on the mooring mast and all the folks. This is one of the worst catastrophes in the world. . . . Oh, the humanity and all the passengers!(Marben 58)" When this floating cathedral, called the Hindenburg, burst into a geyser of flaming hydrogen there was a tremendous impact on the public, although two thirds of the people on board survived. Two theories about why it happened surfaced and this tragedy put an end to the short age of these massive airships. The demise of the Hindenburg had a searing impact on public consciousness that far surpassed the bare statistics of the calamity. Men and women escaped, even from this inferno. One elderly lady walked out by the normal exit as though nothing had happened and was unscratched. A fourteen-year-old cabin boy jumped to the ground into flames and smoke. He was almost unconscious from the fumes when a water-ballast bag collapsed over his head. He got out. One passenger hacked his way through a jungle of hot metal using his bare hands. Another emerged safely, only to have another passenger land upon him and cripple him. One man, at an open window with every chance to jump to safety, went back into the flames to his wife, both died. The final count was 36 dead, including 13 passengers. Nearly two thirds, of the 97 persons on board survived, but that fact was forever obscured, and the name Hindenburg became...

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Uploaded by:   Admin

Date:   01/22/1999

Category:   American History

Length:   3 pages (743 words)

Views:   1484

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