The mystery of the Hindenburg solved

Hindenburg mystery solved after 76 years.

With nearly 100 on board, the 245m airship was preparing to land at Lakehurst, New Jersey, on 6 May 1937, when the age of airship travel ended. In front of horrified onlookers, the Hindenburg exploded and plunged to the ground in flames. Thirty-five of those on board died.

Now, 76 years later, a team of experts claims to have solved one of the greatest mysteries of the 20th century: the real cause of the Hindenburg air disaster. And they name static electricity as the culprit.

Investigations after the disaster concluded that a spark had ignited leaking hydrogen gas, but could not agree on what caused the spark, or the leaking gas. Conspiracy theories took hold that the airship had been brought down by a bomb, or had been shot down from the ground. Through recreating different scenarios with mini-replicas, and studying archive footage of the disaster, along with eyewitness accounts, experts believe they have discovered what really happened.

In a documentary being broadcast on Channel 4 on Thursday, experts reveal the sequence of events that triggered the explosion. The airship had become charged with static as a result of an electrical storm. A broken wire or sticking gas valve leaked hydrogen into the ventilation shafts, and when ground crew members ran to take the landing ropes they effectively “earthed” the airship. The fire appeared on the tail of the airship, igniting the leaking hydrogen.

There has been many conspiracies surrounding the Hindenburg disaster, among others that a bomb was planted aboard the ship and explosive paint was used to coat the blimp.

Airship historian Dan Grossman thinks this new theory seems to be the most likely scenario of what happened on that fateful day in 1937.

Here’s a video from the historic event as narrated by Herbert Morrison

  5 comments for “The mystery of the Hindenburg solved

  1. March 4, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    I hope the Falcon Project is taking these findings and utilizing them in their search for Bigfoots.

  2. oldebabe
    March 4, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    New theory? 76-year “mystery” solved? I remember hearing that a static electricity spark plus hydrogen gas was probably the cause of the fire quite a few years ago – maybe 20… I did not think the fire was a mystery then, either, and the explanation seemed a feasible. Strange that it is suddenly in the news again.

  3. March 4, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    The thing is it is not remotely new from what we are told here. It has been accepted as the most likely scenario for some thirty years, with or without the doping/paint adding to the combustion. Every few years Discovery Channel does a documentary that suggests the electrostatic hypothesis, and I think tests have been run before but these sound like by far the most thorough. I learned of the electrostatic theory from John G Fuller’s famous book on the R101 seances (yes you did read that right) The Airmen Who Would Not Die, first published in 1979, but that suggests it was actually known and seriously considered as a possibility as I recall at Cardington BEFORE the loss of the R101, which was 9 years before the Hindenburg, with crews actively told to avoid the ropes unless wearing insulated clothing and gloves. So it has been known for 30 years, and was in fact noted as a possibility before work on building the Hindenburg began.

    I’m pretty sure some real new science must be involved in the documentary, which sounds interesting (I have read widely and watched quite a bit on airships to try and evaluate the aforementioned seance technical data regarding the loss of the the R101), but the Press Releases don’t seem to be telling us what it is 🙂 Nothing given above is remotely new – the only thing I have seen mentioned is experiments with models which I am not aware of being done before.

  4. March 4, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    From the description it sounds like a documentary I saw about a month ago – it was pretty decent but the theory, as already has been said, is nothing new and I doubt anyone can ever definatively prove the cause after all this time.

  5. jody b
    March 4, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    not really additional information, but I had a good elderly acquaintance back in the early 1970’s who had been at the airport when the Hindenburg blew up. He said that he had been able to see himself in the newsreel footage running from the inferno. But pre-internet, no way to verify.

Comments are closed.