Disaster marks the end of the airship as a means of commercial travel.
The death-toll in the disaster early yesterday morning to the world’s largest airship, the Hindenburg, is now stated to be 33, including one member of the ground staff.
There were 97 persons in the airship, which had just completed her first transatlantic crossing of the season, when as she was landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey, explosion and fire reduced her in a few minutes to mass of twisted metal.
The injured survivors include Captain Max Pruss, who was in charge of the airship. Captain Lehmann, who was for this trip acting in an advisory capacity, died in hospital last night from his injuries. His wife was already on her way from Germany to the United States.
The only English passenger, Mr George Grant, a steamship agent of Swanage Road, Streatham, London, aged 62, is safe, though in hospital with injuries. Four of the injured passengers are on the danger list.
Identification of the victims is very difficult, as the airship’s manifest was lost in the fire. So far only the bodies of two passengers and 14 members of the crew have been identified.
A board of inquiry will begin its public investigation of the disaster today. This will examine, among other things, the suggestion made by Dr Hugo Eckener, the airship’s designer, that sabotage may be the explanation of the disaster.
That suggestion, made after the first impact of the news of the disaster, was last night virtually withdrawn by Dr Eckener in a broadcast from Berlin.
Dr. Eckener and a German commission of inquiry, consisting of Government officials and expert of the Zeppelin Company, are leaving for New York today; they will join the Europa at Cherbourg.
The blow has been keenly felt in Germany, but our Berlin correspondent in a message indicates that there is no hint of abandonment of faith in the Zeppelins. The building of the LZ 130, now under construction, is to be hastened so that it may be ready in the autumn to replace the lost Hindenburg.
Messages of condolence received by the German Government include telegrams from President Roosevelt and Lord Swinton, the British Secretary of State for Air. M. Blum spoke of France’s sympathy amid cheers in the Chamber last night.
The King sent a telegram of condolence to Herr Hitler:
I am deeply shocked by the news of the disaster which has befallen the airship Hindenburg and I hasten to express to you, Mr Chancellor, my sincere condolences on this tragic event, involving as it does the loss of so many lives. GEORGE R.I.
[The final toll was 36 including one crewman on the ground.]