Discovery Channel to Air Its Theory on Hindenburg Disaster

Theory based on scale replica tests.

Hindenburg

Hindenburg

Hindenburg

This Sunday, the Discovery Channel will reveal the results of its research into the cause of the crash of the Hindenburg. On May 6, 1937, the German Zeppelin burst into flames and crashed while attempting to dock in Lakehurst, New Jersey, after a transatlantic flight. Of 97 on board, 13 passengers and 22 crewmembers were killed as well as one ground crewman. The tragedy was captured on newsreel film and narrated on a radio broadcast (that has become legendary), helping lead to the end of the era for lighter-than-air transports.

The cause of the fire has never been definitively determined. Theories include static electricity; lightning; a bomb; and even ground fire. The accident occurred at a time when Hitler’s Nazi party was in its ascendency in Germany, and the Hindenburg flew with swastika markings, though it was a civilian aircraft.

Discovery Channel experts constructed a series of scale replicas of the airship and tested each of the prevailing theories. The results of their experiments are the subject of this Sunday’s program. Promos for the show stop short of revealing the conclusions of the Discovery Channel research team. So you’ll have to tune in to find out. Check local listings for airtimes.