Wingfoot Air Express – The First Airship Disaster

Wingfoot Air Express – The First Airship Disaster

On Monday 21st July 1919 the Wingfoot Air Convey (owned by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Organization) crashed into the Illinois Trust and Discounts Making in Chicago, with the decline of 13 lives. This was the worst Airship disaster in the United states right until the Zeppelin Airship, Hindenburg crashed in 1937. Of the 13 who died, just one was a crew member, two ended up passengers whilst the remaining 10 had been bank workforce in the building under.

The Wingfoot Air Convey was carrying passengers from Grant Park to the White Town Amusement Park when, at an altitude of about 1200ft, the craft caught hearth above the Chicago Loop. After the crew realised that the Airship was lost, the Pilot and the Main Mechanic parachuted to basic safety together with a third individual who broke each legs and later died in clinic.

The Illinois Belief & Price savings Bank creating on the corner of LaSalle Road and Jackson Boulevard, housed 150 staff members who have been closing up after the times business enterprise (the fire staying documented to have started at 4:55pm) in the principal banking hall. The main corridor was illuminated by a big skylight and the remains of the Wingfoot Air Convey struck the banking companies skylight directly leading to flaming debris to drop through to the corridor below. As perfectly as the 10 workforce who were killed, 27 customers of staff were also described injured.

Right after the crash, Chicago City Council imposed a ban on hydrogen crammed dirigibles from flying above populated components of the metropolis. The Airships household foundation, Grant Park Airstrip, was also shut soon soon after the crash.

Printed in honor of all those who missing their lives even though at their work in the financial institution, in a catastrophe that remaining all officers and employes grief striken.


Out of the clear sky came a mass of flaming wreckage which crashed by way of the huge skylight of this lender, bringing demise and injury into the Illinois Have confidence in household. A major dirigible sailing in excess of the loop caught hearth a thousand ft in the air and arrived speeding like a flaming comet, down to earth. The finger of fate had picked the skylight of this making amongst the hundreds of flat roofs encompassing, on which the dirigible was to strike.

This wonderful tragedy resulted in the dying of ten of the bank’s people today and the damage of twenty-seven many others, leaving a in no way to be overlooked shadow over the whole establishment. Employes and officers were being occupied closing up the day’s company on July 21st. It experienced been a major working day. Monday almost invariably brings additional company than other days of the week. A lot of of the employes now had been on their way household. These however at perform had been placing the ultimate touches on the day’s do the job and would have departed for property really soon.

Quickly, as if the total roof was caving in, there arrived a huge crash and down by way of the skylight descended the massive, fiery blimp with its twisted iron and weighty system, previous the balcony and down to the to start with flooring upon the heads of employes who were doing work beneath the significant skylight.

from The Columns of the Illinois Trust & Financial savings Financial institution, Chicago [special memorial issue]: 3, July 1919,