Hindenburg mystery solved 76 years later

76 years after the catastrophic explosion of the Hindenburg airship, the mystery of what caused that fatal accident has finally been solved according to researchers. The accident happened on May 6, 1937 and killed 35 of the 100 passengers and crewmembers aboard the airship. According to a team of experts that have been researching the accident, static electricity was the real trigger.

The experts say that the ship flew into a thunderstorm resulting in a buildup of static electricity. That buildup of static electricity from the electrical storm combined with a broken wire or sticking gas valve that leaked hydrogen into the ventilation shafts resulted in the explosion. The researchers say that when ground crew members went out to grab the landing ropes to secure the aircraft, they "earthed" the ship causing a spark.

The fire that destroyed the aircraft is believed to have started on the tail where the leaking hydrogen was ignited. While researching the destruction of the airship, the team used scale models of the airship more than 24 m long in their experiments. According to the research team, they conducted these experiments to rule out some the theories on what caused the fatal accident.

Some previous theories had included a bomb and even odder theories were dispelled including one that suggested explosive properties of the paint used on the Hindenburg caused the explosion. The airship was 245 m long and was preparing to land at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in Manchester Township, New Jersey when the accident took place.

[via Dailymail I]