Werner Gustav Doehner, the last survivor of the Hindenburg zeppelin disaster in 1937, died Nov. 8 in Laconia, New Hampshire, a family member said. He was 90.
Werner Doehner was 8 years old and traveling with his parents, brother and sister on the German zeppelin on May 6, 1937, when it burst into flames and crashed as it approached the Lakehurst Naval Air Station in Lakehurst, New Jersey. The zeppelin was concluding a three-day trip across the Atlantic Ocean when it crashed, the Times reported.
Thirty-six people, including Doehner's father and sister, were killed in the crash, which occurred just before 7:30 p.m. The disaster was caught in newsreel coverage, radio broadcasts and photographs. The broadcast, by radio reporter Herb Morrison, is famous for his emotional call of the disaster and the memorable quote, "Oh, the humanity!"
"It basically robbed him of his father and sister, and left him with lasting scars," Bernie Doehner told CNN, adding his father rarely talked about the incident. "He had one (scar) all down his leg and he had nine skin graft operations and one of his ears was badly damaged."
The aircraft was 800 feet long and 135 feet in diameter, the Times reported. It had made 62 safe voyages since its 1936 debut.
"The Hindenburg was a huge flying billboard for German aeronautical supremacy," Rick Zitarosa, a historian and vice president of the Navy Lakehurst Historical Society, told the newspaper. Zitarosa also confirmed Werner Doehner was the last survivor from the airship crash. "It was a great flying machine bearing 50-foot swastikas on its tail."
Doehner's mother dropped him and his brother out of the cabin window when the fire erupted and then jumped out herself, the Times reported.
© 2019 Cox Media Group