Allen Hagaman was a US Navy linesman and the sole ground-crew casualty of the Hindenburg disaster on May 6th, 1937.
Early Life[edit | edit source]
The Hindenburg Disaster[edit | edit source]
On his last day alive, Allen Hagman was working as a civilian ground crew member with three other members, Charles Exel, Arthur Clarence Terry, and Charles Henry Barnes on May 6th, 1937. Barnes and Terry were both Navy Linesman, while Exel and Hagaman were both civilian line crew members. His job was to help prepare the stern mooring car for the landing. The stern mooring car would be used to attach the lower tailfin of the airship to the ground.
By 5:30 PM, the ground crew was in position and ready to land the Hindenburg. However, at about 5:45, the wind shifted and a light rain began to fall. The ground crew was called back to the mooring mast, though it provided scant shelter from the rain. Somebody spotted the Hindenburg off in the distance, flying south along the New Jersey coastline as it waited for the weather over Lakehurst to clear.
After about 20 minutes the rain let up and the ground crew returned to their positions out on the field. Within minutes, a heavier rain arrived and the men were once more called back to “shelter” next to the mooring mast. This time, the men waited for about 45 minutes for the rain to pass, and by the time they were sent back out to their positions on the airfield again, the Hindenburg was approaching the landing field. It was just after 7:00 PM.
Hagaman immediately got to work, lining up the car with Hindenburg's stern, following where it went, ready to let the ship's tail settle into the car. By 7:21, the landing lines were dropped. Hagaman prepared to receive the tail of the ship. Suddenly at 7:25, he noticed something was wrong with the back of the airship. He saw a bright orange glow inside the ship, followed by smoke leaking out the vents.
"Something's Wrong!!" shouted Hagaman as he witnessed the hull glowing. Two seconds later, the hydrogen gas bag exploded in flames, and the Hindenburg began to fall the ground. Terrified, Hagaman, Terry, Exel, and Barnes jumped off the stern mooring car and scattered for cover. But Allen tripped over one of the mooring tracks and fell down. As he was struggling to pick himself up, he realized in terror the Hindenburg's tail falling right towards him. Horrified and helpless, Allen screamed as he was crushed by the tail as it smashed to the ground. Allen was killed three hours after the crash.
His lifeless body was burned in the fire, nearly making him unrecognizable. As firefighters rushed into the burning wreckage to find survivors, Allen's body was found crushed beneath a burning beam. He was dragged out, where he was later identified by a surgeon and his distraught friends and ground crew members.
Hagaman was buried on Monday, May 10th, at the cemetery in his home town of Cassville.
Quotes[edit | edit source]
"Something's Wrong!!"-Allen Hagaman's Last Words