The word Hindenburg is now synonymous with disaster and it’s not hard to see why considering the image it likely conjures in people’s minds is that of a floating testicle detonating into a cloud of fire hundreds of feet in the air. While the disaster did claim the lives of several people, it’s worth noting that a majority of the people on board actually survived. Mostly by simply, and we’re really not shitting you here, leaping out before the ship crashed into the ground and exploded.
Yep, as unbelievable as it’s going to sound given that the image at the top of this very page is the Hindenburg mid explosion a reported 60% of the people on board when that was happening survived. For the morbidly curious amongst you, while the Hindenburg Disaster is by far the most famous airship crash in history, it’s far from the most deadly. With that grim record being claimed by the USS Akron which crashed in 1933 (four years before the Hindenburg’s fateful final flight), claiming the lives off all but three people on board.
Anyway, while nobody is really quite sure how or perhaps more importantly, why the Hindenburg exploded, it did and depending on which source you consult, the entire thing and the once popular airship industry with it, immolated in a matter of seconds. Which begs the question, how the fuck did people survive something that could kill Optimus Prime? The simple answer, pure, dumb luck.
For example, a majority of survivors are said to have just, and we really can’t stress this enough, waiting for the Hindenburg to almost crash and leaping out. With our favourite story about this being an acrobat who elbowed the Hindenburg’s window out the second it caught fire and frontflipped his way to safety. Closely followed by the story of a young boy whose parents threw him out of the window before it crashed who went on to live until 2019.
As for the crew, while many were unfortunately too close to the point of combustion to survive, one young cabin boy was able to survive because he fell underneath an exploding water tank, which put out the flames around him, at which point he just ran and jumped out of a window. Surviving without injury.
Perhaps more unbelievable though are the people who didn’t leap out of the craft and instead stayed aboard as it crashed into the ground at, admittedly a very low speed, and burst into flames who also inexplicably survived. In fact, it’s noted that more people survived the crash than survived leaping from the airship (a statistic thrown off by the number of people who opted to leap out while the craft was still quite high in the air) meaning statistically you were more likely survive the Hindenburg Disaster by just standing there and letting the flames consume you.
Again, this doesn’t change the fact that a good number of people lost their lives, but lets be honest, how many people reading this realised that more than 60% of people survived a stadium-sized balloon full of flammable gas crashing into the ground?