A British inventor claims to have ‘exploded’ the myths around the Hindenburg disaster – and discovered what really caused the German airship to catch fire.
Jem Stansfield, 37, says the airship was not destroyed by St Elmo’s Fire, or by sabotage, instead a new waterproof coating lit the fatal spark.
The German Airship was landing in Lakehurst New Jersey on May 6, 1937 when it exploded – putting an end to an experiment touted as the future of trans-Atlantic flight.
Thirty-five out of the 100 passengers on board died.
“To test the theories, we built three 30-metre-long hydrogen airships and blew them up,” says Jem Stansfield, 37, a British inventor and TV presenter, who created the models for a Channel 4 documentary.
“We blew them up in ways that corresponded to theories about the Hindenburg disaster. We looked for explosions that looked most like the way the Hindenburg went down – as airships burn, their buoyancy changes, so it’s quite distinctive.”