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Last Survivor of 1937 Hindenburg Disaster Dies at Age 90

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tags: Hindenburg disaster



(CONCORD, N.H.) — The last remaining survivor of the Hindenburg disaster, who suffered severe burns to his face, arms and legs before his mother managed to toss him and his brother from the burning airship, has died.

Werner Gustav Doehner, the last among 62 passengers and crew who escaped the May 6, 1937, fire, was 90. The fire killed his father, sister and 34 others. He was just 8 years old at the time.

“He did not talk about it,” his son Bernie Doehner said, adding that his father took him years later to visit the naval station where the disaster happened but not the Hindenburg memorial itself. “It was definitely a repressed memory. He lost his sister, he lost his dad.”

A church service was held Friday for Werner Doehner, who died on Nov. 8 at a hospital in Laconia, New Hampshire.

As the 80th anniversary approached in 2017, Doehner told The Associated Press that he and his parents, older brother and sister were all on the 804-foot-long (245-meter-long) zeppelin traveling to Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey. The airship departed on May 3, 1937. Doehner’s father headed to his cabin after using his movie camera to shoot some scenes of the station from the airship’s dining room. That was the last time Doehner saw him.

As the Hindenburg arrived, flames began to flicker on top of the ship. Hydrogen, exposed to air, fueled an inferno.

“Suddenly, the air was on fire,” Doehner recalled.

“We were close to a window, and my mother took my brother and threw him out. She grabbed me and fell back and then threw me out,” he said. “She tried to get my sister, but she was too heavy, and my mother decided to get out by the time the zeppelin was nearly on the ground.”

Read entire article at TIME

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