The disaster of the airship USS Akron near the coast of New Jersey was the worst airship disaster in history. Admiral William A. Moffett, who had earlier received the Medal of Honor, died during the accident.
The American airship USS Akron crashed on this day in 1933. The airship was the largest helium-filled aircraft in world history, together with its sister airship USS Macon. Only the German Hindenburg class was larger than USS Akron and USS Macon, but the class included hydrogen-filled aircraft. The USS Akron was only about 2.5% shorter than the Hindenburg, and had a military purpose (the Hindenburg was a passenger airship).
The USS Akron was a “flying aircraft carrier” because it carried four Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawk fighters. These were biplanes with one pilot, located inside the airship hangar. When they were preparing to take off, they were suspended below the blimp using a special hook.
The accident which happened on this day in 1933 near the coast of New Jersey was the worst airship disaster in history. Namely, 73 people died (in comparison, 36 people died during the crash of the Hindenburg). The USS Akron crashed down during a huge storm at sea. Only three people survived the accident (62 people survived the Hindenburg disaster).
A crash in the middle of the ocean storm was particularly deadly for the crew of the USS Akron because they were not equipped with life jackets. Most of them died from drowning and hypothermia. Admiral William A. Moffett also died in the crash. Just to note, he had received the famous Medal of Honor in 1915.