Oh, the humanity!— Herbert Morrison, WLS radio broadcaster
The Hindenburg disaster took place on May 6, 1937 as the German rigid airship Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed within one minute while attempting to dock with its mooring mast at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station which is located adjacent to the Borough of Lakehurst in Manchester Township, New Jersey. Of the 97 people on board, 35 people died in addition to one fatality on the ground. The disaster was the subject of spectacular newsreel coverage, photographs, and Herbert Morrison's recorded radio eyewitness report from the landing field, which was broadcast the next day. The actual cause of the fire remains unknown, although a variety of theories have been put forward for both the cause of ignition and the initial fuel for the ensuing fire.
The accident served to shatter public confidence, and marked the end of the giant, passenger carrying rigid airships
It's practically standing still now. They've dropped ropes out of the nose of the ship; and (uh) they've been taken ahold of down on the field by a number of men. It's starting to rain again; it's—the rain had (uh) slacked up a little bit. The back motors of the ship are just holding it (uh) just enough to keep it from— It's burst into flames! It burst into flames, and it's falling, it's crashing! Watch it! Watch it! Get out of the way! Get out of the way! Get this, Charlie; get this, Charlie! It's fire—and it's crashing! It's crashing terrible! Oh, my! Get out of the way, please! It's burning and bursting into flames; and the—and it's falling on the mooring-mast. And all the folks agree that this is terrible; this is the one of the worst catastrophes in the world. [indecipherable] its flames... Crashing, oh! Four- or five-hundred feet into the sky and it—it's a terrific crash, ladies and gentlemen. It's smoke, and it's in flames now; and the frame is crashing to the ground, not quite to the mooring-mast. Oh, the humanity! and all the passengers screaming around here. I told you; it—I can't even talk to people Their friends are out there! Ah! It's—it—it's a—ah! I—I can't talk, ladies and gentlemen. Honest: it's just laying there, mass of smoking wreckage. Ah! And everybody can hardly breathe and talk and the screaming. Lady, I—I—I'm sorry. Honest: I—I can hardly breathe. I—I'm going to step inside, where I cannot see it. Charlie, that's terrible. Ah, ah;—I can't. Listen, folks; I—I'm gonna have to stop for a minute because [indecipherable] I've lost my voice. This is the worst thing I've ever witnessed.
– Herbert Morrison, describing the events, as broadcasted to WLS radio.