Caldwell, OH Airship SHENANDOAH Disaster, Sept 1925 - 15 Dead



Giant Dirigible Struggles Vainly – Control Car Lost, Ship Soars Through Clouds, Splits, Falls

(By J. R. MacSwords)

A flash of lightning!
A tornado sweeping all before it!
A great dirigible, the Shenandoah, fighting valiantly, against a 45-milk gale.
The flickering of lights. Utter darkness! Trembling lights again!
The motors of the huge blimp helpless against the powerful storm. Men asleep, rudely awakened by the pitching and tossing of the huge airship.
A hurried assembling of all the crew and passengers. But continued order. Men observing instruments minutely. Motors speeded up in an effort to beat the storm.
Control Car Lost
Ship Soars to Clouds
Power of elements increasing, making the efforts of mere man, even though valiant, seem puny.
Shenandoah flying about 2,100 feet high. Loss of the control car. Sudden leap of the mighty blimp to an elevation of approximately 7,000 feet elevation.
A pitching and tossing! Men flung from their feet!
Another dip and a screaming crash!
Shenandoah breaks into two huge pieces!
Nose of ship carried south with great velocity. Eight men expecting instant death! Tail of blimp nose-dives toward earth! An upward air current. Soars hundreds of feet.
Sinks again, always with great velocity!
Sweeps over ground knocking off cabins, engine rooms and other compartments! Fourteen men dead. Bodies mangled and torn.
Roll call – one man missing. Body not found until 10:30 a. m.

Sun Shines Brightly On Scene of Tragic Desolation
Storm subsides and sun shines brightly on scene of tragedy and desolation.
The Shenandoah had been sailing peacefully along on its western trip. It was not the first time that the giant dirigible had glimpsed Ohio. But it was the last.
No indication of the approaching storm or of its ferocity had reached the 43 men who were entrusting their lives to the stability of this Queen of the Air. Some were sleeping, for the motion of motion of the ship was gentle.

Ship and Storm Meet
The Shenandoah and the storm met just east of Cambridge about 3 a. m. Man matched strength with Nature and was found wanting. The powerful motors of the dirigible were futile against the mighty thrust of the gale.

The throttles advanced. The storm increased in velocity. The Shenandoah was forced into retreating fighting every inch. One mile – two miles – five – ten – twenty – thirty miles the airship was driven back! Disaster awaited.

About 5:40 a. m. the wind beat the Shenandoah to a point over the hills about three miles east of Ava. Here the control car of the ship was met. Without power to hold a course, the dirigible started its crazy flight vehicle ended five minutes later when the Shenandoah split into two huge pieces.

The Times Recorder, Zanesville OH 4 Sept 1925