This day in history: The Hindenburg explodes

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Today in History for May 6th


On May 6, 1937, the hydrogen-filled German dirigible Hindenburg burned and crashed in Lakehurst, N.J., killing 36 of the 97 people on board and a Navy crewman on the ground.

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Hindenburg explodes in New Jersey - May 6, 1937
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This day in history: The Hindenburg explodes
The German zeppelin Hindenburg floats over Manhattan Island in New York City on May 6, 1937. (AP Photo)
The German zeppelin Hindenburg flies over Manhattan on May 6, 1937. A few hours later, the ship burst into flames in an attempt to land at Lakehurst, N.J. (AP Photo)
The German dirigible Hindenburg, with the swastika symbol visible on its tail wing, is shown just before it crashed upon landing at the U.S. Naval Station in Lakehurst, N.J., on May 6, 1937. (AP Photo)
FILE - In this Nov. 2, 1931 file photograph, the USS Navy Air Cruiser Akron flies over lower Manhattan's financial district in New York City. The Akron went down in a violent storm off the New Jersey coast. The disaster claimed 73 lives, more than twice as many as the crash of the Hindenburg, four years later. The USS Akron, a 785-foot dirigible, was in its third year of flight when a violent storm sent it crashing tail-first into the Atlantic Ocean shortly after midnight on April 4, 1933. (AP Photo/File)
German airship 'Hindenburg' photographed from a plane, is seen flying over Manhattan Island, New York, USA in the 1930s. (AP Photo)
The German dirigible Hindenburg, with the swastika symbol visible on its tail wing, is shown just before it crashed upon landing at the U.S. Naval Station in Lakehurst, N.J., on May 6, 1937. (AP Photo)
This May 6, 1937 file photo, taken at almost the split second that the Hindenburg exploded, shows the 804-foot German zeppelin just before the second and third explosions send the ship crashing to the earth over the Lakehurst Naval Air Station in Lakehurst, N.J. Werner Franz, believed to be the last surviving crew member of the German airship Hindenburg that crashed 77 years ago, has died. He was 92. Luck and quick thinking meant Franz was able to jump out of the Hindenburg as it fell burning to the ground, said historian John Provan, a long-time friend. (AP Photo) B/W ONLY
The German dirigible Hindenburg crashes to earth, tail first, in flaming ruins after exploding on May 6, 1937, at the U.S. Naval Station in Lakehurst, N.J. The 1920s and 1930s were the golden age of dirigibles which crossed the Atlantic Ocean in about three days -- faster than a ship. The Hindenburg was the largest airship ever built at 804 feet long and flew up to 85 miles per hour while held aloft by hydrogen, which was highly flammable. The disaster, which killed 36 people after a 60-hour transatlantic flight from Germany, ended regular passenger service by the lighter-than-air airships. (AP Photo/Murray Becker)
The Hindenburg zeppelin burns after it exploded during the docking procedure at Lakehurst Naval Air Station, N.J., on May 6, 1937. The hydrogen inflated dirigible burst into flames, killing 36 of the 97 persons on board. (AP Photo)
The blazing inferno that was the German airship Hindenburg is reduced to ruins as a survivor, lower right hand corner, runs to safety, May 6, 1937, after it exploded on mooring at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey. Rescuers, left and center, rush forward to pull other passenger and crew away from the fiery wreckage. (AP Photo)
The skeleton of the zeppelin Hindenburg in flames, Lakehurst, New Jersey. A hydrogen-filled, the dirigible caught fire while attempting to land, exploding and crashing, killing many of its passengers and crew. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
This is an aerial photo of the wreckage of the German Hindenburg airship at Lakehurst, N.J. on May 7, 1937. The airship exploded prior to landing on May 6. (AP Photo/Murray Becker)
Members of the U.S. Navy Board of Inquiry inspect the wreckage of the German zeppelin Hindenburg on the field of the Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey, May 8, 1937. The Hindenburg exploded after morning on May 6, killing 36 people. (AP Photo)
The remains of the wreckage of the German Zeppelin Hindenburg are removed from the U.S. Naval field in Lakehurst, N.J., on May 15, 1937. The airship exploded mid-air prior to landing May 6. (AP Photo/Murray Becker)
Ambulances line up to transfer hospitalized victims of the Hindenburg disaster to other area hospitals from Paul Kimball Hospital, Lakewood, N.J., May 7, 1937. The German airship Hindenburg exploded yesterday as it was being moored at Lakehurst Naval Air Station. Thirty-six people were killed. (AP Photo)
Newsmen photograph an unidentified survivor of the German airship Hindenburg disaster as they are transferred from Paul Kimball Hospital in Lakewood, N.J. to other area hospitals, May 7, 1937. The Hindenburg exploded yesterday after it moored at Lakehurst Naval Air Station, killing 36 people. (AP Photo)
Horribly burned when his ship went up in flames, Capt. Max Pruss of the ill-fated dirigible airship Hindenburg, is shown in an ambulance en route to a New York hospital, May 7, 1937. He was reported "resting comfortably" late tonight. (AP Photo)
Adolf Fisher, a mechanic of the German airship Hindenburg, is transferred from Paul Kimball Hospital in Lakewood, N.J., to an ambulance going to another area hospital, May 7, 1937. The Hindenburg exploded yesterday after mooring in Lakehurst Naval Air Station, killing 36 people. (AP Photo)
Relatives and friends of persons listed as missing in the Hindenburg disaster check the bulletin board on which the names of survivors are being added in Lakehurst, N.J., May 7, 1937. The German-built zeppelin, carrying 97 passengers and crew, burst into flames in mid-air as it was landing after its transatlantic voyage May 6. Thirty-five people on board and one ground crew member were killed. (AP Photo)
Funeral services for the 28 Germans who lost their lives in the Hindenburg disaster May 6 are held on the Hamburg-American pier in New York City, May 11, 1937. The swastika-draped caskets will be placed on board the Hamburg for their return to Europe. About 10,000 members of German organizations line the pier. (AP Photo/Anthony Camerano)
German Nazis give the salute as they stand beside the casket of Capt. Ernest A. Lehmann, former commander of the zeppelin Hindenburg, during funeral services held on the Hamburg-American pier in New York City, May 11, 1937. The caskets of the 28 Germans who lost their lives in the Hindenburg disaster May 6 will be placed on board the Hamburg for their return to Europe. (AP Photo/Anthony Camerano)
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