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Last Hindenburg Survivor Passes Away At Age 90

Werner Gustav Doehner Was Eight Years Old When He Traveled Aboard The Ill-Fated Airship

The last survivor of the Hindenburg disaster passed away November 8 at the age of 90, according to the Navy Lakehurst Historical Society.

USA Today reports that Werner Gustav Doehner passed away at his home in Laconia, New Hampshire. He had been eight years old when he traveled to the United States aboard the Hindenburg in May of 1937. He was with his parents and two older siblings. The family lived in North America, where Werner's father Hermann was an executive with a german pharmaceutical company in Mexico City. They were returning from a vacation in Germany.

When the Hindenburg caught fire as it approached its docking station at Naval Air Station Lakehurst in New Jersey on the evening of May 6, Werner and his brother Walter were able to jump from one of the observation windows with the help of their mother and the ground crew. His mother, Matilde also escaped the burning airship, but his 14-year-old sister Irene raced back into the burning aircraft, it is believed to look for her father, who would have most likely been in their private compartment. Irene survived, but was so severely burned that she died later that night in a nearby hospital. Hermann's body was later recovered from the wreckage.

Werner, Walter and Irene all survived the disaster. Werner lived most of the rest of his live in Mexico and Colorado. He and his wife Elin moved to Laconia in May of 2018, according to the report.

It is believed that only two people who ever flew on the Hindenburg are still alive. Horst Schirmer from Maryland, whose father was an engineer who designed the gas shafts for airships and gave his son a ride during a test flight, and Anne Springs Close, a textile heiress from South Carolina. She was a passenger aboard the Hindenburg in 1936, seven months before the disaster occurred.

(Image from file)

FMI: Source report


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