Built in Akron, Ohio, The United States Navy airships U.S.S. Akron – ZRS-4 and U.S.S. Macon – ZRS-5 were among the largest airships ever built. Each ship was designed as a long-range scouting platform for use in Naval fleet operation. The helium-filled airships each carried F9C-2 Curtiss Sparrowhawk biplanes which could be launched and recovered in flight.
Crash of the Akron
It was shortly after midnight on April 4, of the coast of New Jersey, that the Akron found itself caught in a series of strong updrafts and downdrafts. Akron was tossed around by the strong winds. While attempting to escape the turbulent air, the ship’s tail struck the water destroying its control surfaces. The Akron was lost, and the ship crashed into the ocean.
Akron’s Death Toll
The crash killed 73 of the 76 men on board. An additional two men were killed when the Navy’s J-3 blimp crashed while searching for Akron survivors.