Lakehurst, NJ HINDENBERG Disaster, May 1937
SABOTAGE HINTED IN HINDENBURG BLAST.
SEVEN BODIES REMAIN IN DEBRIS.
RUINS UNDER GUARD.
NO ONE PERMITTED TO SPEAK TO SURVIVORS OF DISASTER, WHO SEARCH EMBERS.
Lakehurst, N. J. -- All but seven bodies of those who perished in the blazing wreckage of the zeppelin HINDENBURG were believed to have been recovered today.
Bare-headed survivors of the German crew climbed among the smoking debris searching for missing comrades.
Lieut. GEORGE WATSON, naval communications officer here, said it was possible that the seven missing bodies were entirely consumed in the blazing hydrogen and motor fuel that destroyed the airship last night.
Sentries with ready rifles encircled the heap of metal, keeping everyone thirty feet away.
None was allowed to speak to survivors of the disaster who searched the ruins nor did they appear to even notice those who stood outside the guard.
Now and then one of the Germans -- dressed in white steward's jackets -- paused to pick up some bit from the wreckage, perhaps a reminder of some one cremated there.
The sun shone grudgingly on the twisted frame work, hazing the green blue, black and silver of the zepplin's skeleton, colors painted by fire and chemicals on the once silver duralumin.
Along the east side of the wreck toward the Lakehurst naval station's big zeppelin hangers that stands 800 yards away, lay two of the HINDENBURG'S motors. As large as one-car garage, they were buried in the soft ground. Their propeller blades were red splinters.
Overhead like the webbing of some giant spider, wires and shredded silver fabric were entangled.
Cotton padding, designed to keep a motor from tearing through the paper-thin sides of the zeppelin in event of its tearing loose, hung grotesquely alongside the fallen motor gondolas. In some unexplained manner it had not burned in the white-heat that seared the faces of rescue workers when they ventured within 70 feet of the blazing ship last night.
The windows of the salons and passengers' promenades, made of a celulose substance, had melted and hung from the HINDENBURG thin like silver tinsel.
DEATH TOLL 32.
Naval Air Station, Lakehurst, N. J. -- The HINDENBURG death toll reached thirty-two today while lighter-than-air experts gathered around the wreckage of the former queen of the skies to ascertain what caused her to crash in flames as she was completing her first voyage of the season across the North Atlantic.
Lakehurst, N. J. -- Scores of witnesses who watched the flaming hulk of the dirigible HINDENBURG fall described the scene today as like a "horrible nightmare," impossible to believe but made real by the screams of trapped victims.
WILLIAM VON MEISTER, vice-president of the Zeppelin company, and HARRY A. BRUNO, press agent, were standing directly under the nose of the big ship as it settled close to the ground.
"Suddenly there was a terrific explosion under the tail flippers," BRUNO said. "Flames shot through the ship in a fraction of a second."
"I saw two passengers hurled out of the window."
"We turned and ran as fast as we could to get out from under the big hulk that was enveloped in flame and was descending upon us."
From a hospital bed, twenty-two year old THEODORE RITTER mechanic aboard the dirigible, called out in broken English:
"Gertrude, Gertrude, Gertrude."
Authorities sent for an interpreter. RITTER, slightly injured, explained that he wanted his sweetheart back home in Halle-Schwaeblach, Germany, to know that he had survived.