Goodyear Blimp Crash Kills Pilot

Blimp called 'The Spirit of Safety' goes down in flames
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 14, 2011 9:05 AM CDT
Goodyear Blimp Crash Kills Pilot
A Goodyear blimp crashes near Oberursel, western Germany, on June 12, 2011.   (Getty Images)

A sad and ironic ending for "The Spirit of Safety": The Goodyear blimp, which was part of a road safety advertising campaign, went down in flames Sunday night in central Germany. The blimp missed its designated landing spot at Reichelsheim airfield, causing its engine to slam into the ground, according to one of three passengers who were able to leap 7 feet to safety. The pilot wasn't so lucky.

He yelled "We had an accident!" followed by "I crashed the airship!" as the smell of fire crept through the blimp, says the passenger. After the three jumped, the sudden loss of weight caused the ship to shoot into the air, where it burst into flames, killing the pilot who remained in the cabin. Goodyear said in a statement today that it was halting the road safety advertising initiative and would leave its second airship in Europe grounded. The US tire company said it has used blimps for more than 85 years and never previously experienced any fatalities. (More Goodyear stories.)

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