Channel 4 airs another of their great factual programmes tonight, this one examining what could have happened to the ill fated aircraft The Hindenburg.
The Nazi funded airship was as large as the ill fated sealiner The Titanic and was proclaimed as a feat of ingenious engineering skill and the world was in awe when it was first unveiled in 1937, however the German passenger airship – LZ 129 Hindenburg – caught fire and was destroyed during its attempt to dock at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station. Of the 97 people on board (36 passengers, 61 crew), there were 35 fatalities; there was also one death among the ground crew.
Because the world was starting to move into the era of mass media, it was the first major transport disaster to be filmed and broadcast around the world.
There were also hundreds of pictures from on site reporters and Herbert Morrison recorded what is now seen as an iconic radio eyewitness report from the landing field, which aired the day after the crash.
Morrison’s recordings are still seen as the most famous in history and years later portions of the broadcast were dubbed onto the newsreel footage, making it seem as though the words and film were recorded together.
The accident had huge implications for airship travel, basically destroying the industry and making the means of travel vastly unpopular. There are many theories around what led to the crash, with some experts believing the ship was sabotaged, others putting it down to a Static spark, some explaining the disaster away blaming lightning, while others seem sure it was all down to engine failure.
However, 76 years later it is true that none of these is a foolproof theory and no one has been able to provide a satisfactory explanation for why the ship went down.
Now, the investigative team has gone ahead and implemented their own far reaching testing programme. As part of the investigation, a large team of experts including aeronautical engineer Jem Stansfield put together three scale models of the Hindenburg, as close to the original as they could possibly get and, for the first time, put the leading theories to the test in the field to establish which was most likely to have caused the crash.
There are also a number of brand new eyewitness accounts, which hopefully shed extra light on the events of that day.
WHAT DESTROYED THE HINDENBURG? TONIGHT, CHANNEL 4, 9PM. LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW…..