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Modern Mysteries

New footage sheds light on Hindenburg disaster

May 21, 2021 | Comment icon 6 comments

What caused the fire that destroyed the Hindenburg ? Image Credit: YouTube / NOVA PBS Official
Previously unseen video footage has been helping scientists learn more about the fate of the airship.
One of the 20th Century's most infamous disasters, the destruction of the Hindenburg - a large German passenger airship - occurred following its arrival at Naval Air Station Lakehurst in Manchester Township, New Jersey in May 1937.

The huge hydrogen-filled airship was carrying 97 passengers at the time, of which 37 lost their lives when the vessel inexplicably burst into flames and crashed to the ground, bringing with it any remaining confidence in airship travel in general.

Although it is obvious that the gas inside the ship provided the fuel for the blaze, the exact reason why the airship went up in flames in the first place has remained a topic of debate for decades.

One of the most popular theories suggests that the fire started when the buildup of static electricity on the airship's exterior came into contact with a special type of 'dope' ( a mixture of iron oxide and aluminum-impregnated cellulose ) that had been painted all over the canvas.
It wouldn't have taken much of a fire to set the hydrogen inside burning and for the blaze to consume the whole ship.

Fast-forward to the present day and now new clues have surfaced in the form of previously unseen video footage captured by a bystander who had been standing at a different location to the cameras that recorded the most widely distributed clips.

Thanks to this new angle, experts have been able to learn more about how the fire spread.

The new footage, which can be seen below as well as in the NOVA documentary "Hindenburg: The New Evidence", is the most significant new clue about the disaster in years.

"Thanks to this stunning new footage, we were able to revive a cold case investigation surrounding one of the most iconic disasters of the 20th Century," said executive producer Gary Tarpinian.

Source: Live Science | Comments (6)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by eight bits 1 year ago
The mind set is so different here from what I see in the Jesus Studies guild. Here: A reputable scholar delivers the new material in person and hands it to the archivist. She checks that's she's been given the original box, bearing correct postage, correctly cancelled, that the marking on the leader matches the number on the box. and so and so on and so on. After all of which, the archivist says she isn't 100% certain, but it looks authentic. Jesus Studies? A copy of a copy of a copy of ... an ancient letter, the original of which doesn't exist and may never have existed in the form we have it... [More]
Comment icon #2 Posted by Inn Spectre 1 year ago
I do not believe that this 'new' footage can reveal anything not already known, since it was taken from the port side of the ship, as was all other known footage.  Soon after the accident, the Germans sent an investigator to Lakehurst, and at the time he came to what I consider the correct conclusion.  The following is not a quote, but my own words based on all reports read and heard: On final approach, the helm made an excessively rapid turn that overstressed the airframe, causing a rupture of an aft (rear) gas bag, probably as a result of being slashed by a broken structural wire.  The escap... [More]
Comment icon #3 Posted by Alpha_Q 1 year ago
I hope this footage allows us to solve this mystery once and for all, so that we may finally develop a safer, more reliable trans-Atlantic dirigible service.
Comment icon #4 Posted by eight bits 1 year ago
@Myles ? You were confused? @ChrLzs ? Even you were confused? Gentlemen, does not a wise critical thinker ask: What is the point of discussing the bearing of evidence except and until one has considered the provenance of the material in question? Why is it cofusing that I'd be favorably impressed by the caution exhibited documented here, by an expert from private company (not an academic institution) whose client is an indpendent scholar (not a faculty member of an acadmic instituton) ? For comparison, I chose an academic p... [More]
Comment icon #5 Posted by TrikeTrash 1 year ago
Wanted to see this, recorded it and lasted all of five minutes into the show before I screamed and deleted the damn thing!  Documentaries are suppose to divulge information, and teach the viewer.  Documentaries are not a platform for narcissistic closeups of some Dilbert explaining this or that.   Damn selfie generation has ruined everything! Nova, KMA.  
Comment icon #6 Posted by scotpens 12 months ago
"Previously unseen video footage . . ." Film, not video. FILM, dammit!

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