Wingfoot Air Express – The First Airship Disaster

On Monday 21st July 1919 the Wingfoot Air Convey (owned by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company) crashed into the Illinois Have faith in and Savings Setting up in Chicago, with the loss of 13 life. This was the worst Airship disaster in the United states right until the Zeppelin Airship, Hindenburg crashed in 1937. Of the 13 who died, 1 was a crew member, two have been passengers although the remaining 10 have been bank personnel in the creating beneath.

The Wingfoot Air Convey was carrying passengers from Grant Park to the White Metropolis Amusement Park when, at an altitude of about 1200ft, the craft caught hearth previously mentioned the Chicago Loop. The moment the crew realised that the Airship was dropped, the Pilot and the Main Mechanic parachuted to protection alongside with a third particular person who broke each legs and later on died in hospital.

The Illinois Rely on & Savings Lender making on the corner of LaSalle Avenue and Jackson Boulevard, housed 150 staff who were closing up following the times business (the fireplace currently being described to have commenced at 4:55pm) in the main banking corridor. The main corridor was illuminated by a significant skylight and the remains of the Wingfoot Air Specific struck the banking institutions skylight right resulting in flaming particles to tumble by means of to the corridor beneath. As nicely as the 10 employees who were killed, 27 associates of staff members ended up also documented injured.

After the crash, Chicago Metropolis Council imposed a ban on hydrogen stuffed dirigibles from flying about populated sections of the city. The Airships home foundation, Grant Park Airstrip, was also closed soon soon after the crash.

Released in honor of those people who lost their life although at their work in the financial institution, in a disaster that left all officers and employes grief striken.


Out of the distinct sky arrived a mass of flaming wreckage which crashed by means of the major skylight of this financial institution, bringing death and damage into the Illinois Have confidence in family members. A big dirigible sailing about the loop caught fireplace a thousand ft in the air and came rushing like a flaming comet, down to earth. The finger of fate had chosen the skylight of this constructing amongst the hundreds of flat roofs bordering, on which the dirigible was to strike.

This terrific tragedy resulted in the loss of life of 10 of the bank’s people and the damage of twenty-7 some others, leaving a under no circumstances to be forgotten shadow more than the full institution. Employes and officers ended up active closing up the day’s organization on July 21st. It had been a significant day. Monday nearly invariably delivers extra company than other days of the week. Lots of of the employes currently had been on their way household. Those nonetheless at work were being putting the remaining touches on the day’s operate and would have departed for house pretty shortly.

Quickly, as if the entire roof was caving in, there came a major crash and down through the skylight descended the massive, fiery blimp with its twisted iron and heavy system, previous the balcony and down to the first floor on the heads of employes who ended up doing work underneath the significant skylight.

from The Columns of the Illinois Belief & Personal savings Lender, Chicago [special memorial issue]: 3, July 1919,