The Hindenburg’s catastrophic landing on May 6th 1937 marked the end of the Golden Age of airship travel. Yet three quarters of a century later, there is still no clear answer about what went wrong. Out in the Texan desert, we build a full size model and recreate the blast to find out.
Few disasters have left such an impression on the world or had such an impact on a single industry. After 10 trips to the USA in 1936, the Hindenburg was due to complete a further 10 trips from Europe to the US for its second year of commercial service. She was also contracted with American Airlines to shuttle passengers from Lakehurst to Newark for connecting flights. On the day of the catastrophic landing, May 6th 1937, she was only half full ahead of what would have been a sold-out trip to take spectators from the US to Germany who were attending the coronation of King George VI.
The explosion and loss of life that day marked an abrupt end to the Golden Age of airship travel. The airship was the pride of Nazi Germany and burst into flames upon touching its mooring mast, in Lakehurst New Jersey. 35 passengers and crew members were killed, of 97 people aboard. Yet three quarters of a century later, there is still no clear answer as to how the incident occurred.
Due to the scale and volume of the Hindenberg – along with the intricacies of its design no one has ever able to provide a satisfactory explanation of how or why the disaster occurred, until now. We debate sabotage, mechanics, weather and even passengers themselves.
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This documentary was produced in 2012.
Content licensed from Espresso to Little Dot Studios.
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