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The future of air travel was shaped by one of the iconic aviation disasters in history: The 1937 crash of the German airship, Hindenburg.

Out of the 97 on board, the disaster killed 36 people, including 13 passengers and TK crew members. Many of the survivors suffered serious burns.

In the 1920s and 1930s, airships had been seen by many in the industry as the future of long-distance flights and the fastest way to travel across the Atlantic, as airplane technology was not yet developed for long trans-oceanic flights. The luxurious aircraft contained large elegant rooms, and attracted wealthy passengers who frequently traveled overseas.

On May 13, 1937, the Hindenburg departed from Frankfurt, Germany, to Lakehurst, New Jersey. After delays due to poor weather, while attempting to moor at its destination, the 804-foot airship suddenly exploded into flames, incinerating within seconds. 

NBC radio announcer Herb Morrison immortalized the disaster in a now-famous broadcast in which he reported on the events as the tragedy unfolded, emotionally declaring, “Oh, the humanity!”  

After the explosion, lighter-than-air passenger travel rapidly fell out of favor, and no rigid airships survived World War II, marking the end of the airship era.